April 2020 Update from IHP

Charles Powell, President of IHP, U.S. writing:

Life sometimes takes strange turns and one ends up in an unexpected place.  For me, this has become a prolonged visit to Zinga.  All flights in and out of Tanzania are cancelled.  For all practical purposes, I am “stuck” in Zinga, but I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be “stuck.”   I have taken to relative isolation because there is COVID-19 in Tanzania, without social distancing and few wearing masks. Of course, the staff here has taken good care of me.  My needs are met and no one could ask for more.

Time for additional projects has now become available to me.  Although my patient contact has been limited due to COVID-19, I have been able to spend time in “diagnosis and treatment” of some of the infrastructure.  We installed a phone system about three years ago.  Attempts to update the system were unsuccessful due to the time frame being an eternity in terms of computers, but I had time to rebuild and re-install the system seamlessly.  I think no one was aware that any work had been done.   The computer in the dental suite was not working due to network issues.  This is where one finds out the value of gold-plated contacts over brass, in a very unforgiving humidity level brass corrodes.  I have also had time to work out compass bearings and siting for additional microwave links to extend the coverage of our hospital intranet.  This becomes more important as we near completion of The Mary Ellen Kitundu Memorial Birthing Center, as we anticipate its opening.  We still have a huge challenge to obtain high-speed Internet service at a reasonable cost.  At this time, the monthly cost of high-speed internet service is equal to the monthly salary of a physician specialist. 

Our voltage stabilizers were all damaged with a power surge caused by a monkey playing on the transformer that supplies the campus. (The monkey did not fare well.)  Various quotes were given for repairs, but visual inspection showed components that clearly “gave way” to prevent further damage.  We are obtaining replacement parts, but I am confident we will be able to place these units back online after repairs are completed. Selemani Shabani has been my assistant for this operation and gaining insight on how to do repairs. This will be useful for him later on, as we put more electronic equipment into use.  



In addition to the episode with the monkey quite some time ago, a snake managed to make its way into the transformer about two weeks ago.  We heard a big “BOOM,” and ended up without Tanesco (commercial) power for a week while awaiting a replacement transformer.  One is thankful to have generators available at times like this.

I have been able to watch some amazing transformations.  The Maternal-Child Health building went from a few block walls and a sea-container to a roofed building in a matter of a few days. 



I am sad that the Lofstroms will not get to stay in their beautiful new home this year.  I have witnessed the final touches being placed on the interior, and it is truly a wonderful place.  The Lofstroms and their guests will greatly enjoy being there after the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.  I can imagine the students and the guests bustling around and all the activity the house will see.  Sadly, it is likely this won’t happen until next year.

The character of the rainy season changes dramatically in April.  In February and March the rains are very intense, with rainfall often accumulating at several inches per hour, but fairly brief.  By April, that becomes prolonged, steady rains that go on for several days at a time.  Fortunately, our workers have done some filling of the virtual lakes our roads and parking lot become and shoring up of the road that goes from Zinga to the facility.  The rains have not prevented people from getting to the clinic for care, due to the work of our laborers.  There is a plan in the district to pave a road to the facility.  We hope this can happen sooner rather than later.

The clinic has seen a large increase in the number of patients, now that we accept patients insured with the National Health Insurance Fund.  We have witnessed a tripling of the number of daily patients over the past month.  We hope that this increases much more as people discover that they can not only be seen but also seen relatively quickly at the facility.  The challenge now is collecting insurance payment in a timely manner.  Things are the same everywhere and cash flow is the biggest challenge in dealing with insurance plans.

The COVID-19 crisis may have some ramifications for opening the MEK Memorial Birthing Center.  We will need a training period prior to opening, and of course, personnel to do the training.  We are embarking on what we hope will be a new approach to patient care in the labor and delivery/newborn setting.  We are hoping to have personnel from the US to help with training and orientation.  Without sufficient help to do proper training, it may be necessary to delay the opening of the birthing center until such time that proper training and orientation can be completed.  Please pray for an early end to the COVID-19 crisis, an effective vaccine, effective treatment, and the lifting of travel restrictions.

We are all in unwanted or unexpected circumstances due to COVID-19.  Please continue to pray, give, or otherwise contribute to the project as you are led.  We pray for conditions that allow the swift return of visitors.

Charles W. Powell, MD

President, IHP-US

The “brains” of our power stabilizers, awaiting new parts.

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Jesse Kitundu, President, IHP-JEMA-TZ writing:

Zinga seems to be quite a remote area and safe only if you stay without going into town. 

Zinga is 65 km north of Dar es Salaam, 10 km South of Bagamoyo is a tourist town.  It is about 2km from the main road going to the north of Tanzania (Tanga and Arusha). The same buses that are going to Bagamoyo from Dar es Salaam are carrying our workers coming to work. In order to be safe from the coronavirus, everybody is putting on masks and gloves in the buses and at work too, not forgetting to wash their hands with soap. Life is fragile, we should handle it with care. 

We thank you for the protective gear you have sent in the past that we can now utilize, fluid soaps and sanitizers that you donated.  These are keeping us safe.

Heavy rains are pouring all over Tanzania and Coastal region and Zinga is badly affected by floods. The road to the hospital from the main road is flooded again this week. This has affected our transportation. It is not possible to use our bus to carry the workers. Instead, we are using the minivan. From time to time we are using the Caterpillar bobcat to save us by pulling the stuck cars out of the mud. 

Dear Friends of Mothers and Children of Tanzania let me thank you again for your support during this hard time.  We welcome you again to come and visit us once the situation gets better.


Na mbarikiwe wakati huu mugumu (Let our Lord Bless you during this hard time).

Jesse A. Kitundu , MD

President

IHP-JEMA Tanzania.

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Dr. Bon Mazezele writing:


Hi all,

God is good, helping and protecting us from COVID-19.

We are all taking precautions against the Coronavirus by wearing masks,  washing hands, not travelling and doing regular update meetings about the coronavirus as you can see the pictures below. This was the feedback from the meeting I attended Bagamoyo insisting all staff should wear masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19. 


Since the meeting, all of our staff are wearing masks and we’re encouraging others to do the same. 

Let us pray for corona to go away. 

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Dennis and Paula Lofstrom writing:

We’re “stuck” in Overland Park, KS.  We’re not going out frivolously, therefore, buying a LOT from Amazon.  By using Smile.Amazon.com and designating International Health Partners, U.S., Inc (being careful not to designate the International Health Partners newly minted by some folks in New York), IHP gets 0.5% of your purchase.  Now, that’s not a huge amount – there would have to be $10,000 worth of sales for us to receive $50.00.  But still…

And WHAT am I buying from Amazon?  SEWING supplies.  I’m making face masks with HEPA filter inserts.  We want each of you to be safe.  We want everyone to be safe!  These masks are washable and dryable and ironable if you’d like.  The filter can be removed and also washed and dried in the dryer or by air and sunshine.  

People are making donations to IHP for the masks, some at $10.00 each, some at $20.00.  One church donated $500 and we’re making them for everybody in that church who requests them.  We’re making them for church-members at a church in Texas, too.  And, we’ve sent masks to Florida, Iowa, Arizona, etc.  If you’d like one or two or twenty or more, please just let me know and we’ll add you to the list.  


If you’d like to order masks, just click on “return” from this email or send me an email at paula@ihptz.org.  Going full-speed ahead I can make 8-9 in one day if I don’t do anything (much) else, so it takes me a little while, but I’m making good progress.  



When will the birthing center open?  Please, see below:

1. Nurses station shelving materials and labor $3,643.00

2. Sinks, 20 pieces at $165.00 = $3,297.00 (in savings from last year's grant challenge)

3. Toilets, 16 pieces at $243.00 ea = $3,888.00 (in savings from last year's grant challenge)

4. Clean water system from well, $6,231.00

5. Sewage system, really unknown but working estimate is $25,000

6. Final painting $2,515.00

7. Wiring plus lights $4,640.00

8. Ambulance lobby floor $1,518.00

9. Solar heaters, 3 @ $1,127.00 = $3,382.00

10. Shower mixers, 16 pieces $103.41 = 1,735.00

11. Labor charges $3,382.00

12. Terrazzo floor cleaning, polishing, sealing = $2,602.00

Total:  $58,533.00 If you can send a donation to keep the work going forward at IHP in Zinga, please make out a check payable to: International Health Partners and send to:

IHP -Matt West, Treasurer

8016 N Everton Ave

Kansas City, MO. 64152

Thank you.  Bless you.  Please, stay safe.

Paula and Denny

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A note from Kyle Landau, one of IHP’s board members and financial advisors:

I'm not certain what percentage of the donor base does not itemize for tax purposes (especially after the increase of the standard deduction a couple of years ago). However, with the CARES Act, which was just passed into law, it appears that anyone who does not itemize can now take a deduction for their charitable contributions up to $300/yr.

This is pretty interesting as the deductibility of contributions for most American's was actually not something they could take advantage of in the past. At a 25% marginal tax rate, a $300 contribution saves the taxpayer $75 on their taxes.

I'm not a CPA so it would be good to run this by one before sending anything out. However, I think that a $300 donation goal for all donors is a pretty strong/ambitious goal and it may be worthwhile to suggest that as a goal for donors to meet to take full advantage of this new law.

Here is a screenshot of the bill's language:

Blessings and gratitude, Paula and Denny


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Paula Lofstrom Managing Director International Health Partners, US & Tz Pray, believing Act on your faith and go forward. God is always with you. Love is always the answer.


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