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March 2019 Update from Zinga

Jesse Kitundu writing:

Dear Friends to Children and Mothers of Tanzania,

I thank the volunteers who managed to come at this time of year to join us. The weather is hotter as compared to last year at the same time and that makes us take fluids all day. Regardless of such weather, the construction work continues as much of the work is taking inside the buildings.

Also, I thank my fellow workers who are working hard on this project.  More qualified staff are expected to join the hospital in the coming months and this could boost the good quality of care and improve our income towards sustainability.

My two and half years of the presidency of IHP-JEMA-TZ has been full of challenges, I thank all you who came here and witnessed what is being done, for your encouragement, advise and your moral support. 

“Asanteni sana Mbarikiwe” (Thanks to you all and bless you)

Jesse Kitundu, M.D., President, IHP-JEMA-TZ

Charles Powell writing:

It is always striking to me when I work in various hospitals in the U.S.  I travel for my work, spending a week or two in rural, sometimes remote hospitals.  There are universals; typically overwhelming joy when a healthy baby arrives, and uncertainty with a great deal of anxiety when a sick baby is born.  Yet deaths are rare because we have training, equipment, and access to transportation to move a sick baby to a high level of care when needed.  Except with extreme prematurity, deaths of infants are quite rare.  But even here, staff not knowing what to do is common.  With the completion of The Mary Ellen Kitundu Memorial Birthing Center nearing completion, the real work begins. 

We first need a staff training program so every baby born there has a level playing ground, an equal chance for survival.  We will develop an advanced nursery and a Neonatal Intensive Care unit capable of very high acuity.  It will be among the first offering such care in Tanzania.  But our work does not stop there.  Our staff will have both the privilege, and the awesome responsibility of training others to have both the skills and the vision to establish a new standard for newborn care in the rest of the country.  The goal?  That we touch the lives of many families, so that they too will know the overwhelming joy of a healthy baby, whether they arrive well, or they are made well by superior care.

There is an avalanche of change coming to Zinga, and your support helps to make it happen.

Charles W. Powell, MD

President - International Health Partners US  

Paula Lofstrom writing:

ALMOST THERE!  The $30,000 double-match challenge grant is now up to $28,305.70!  We have until Easter to make it happen.  

If you can help, please send a check to:

IHP- Matt West, Treasurer

8016 No. Everton Ave.

Kansas City, MO  64152


go to our website, www.ihptz.organd click on PayPal


Call Joyce Zemel at 480-540-9317 and she’ll put it on your credit card.

We’re SO close!  You have been amazingly generous and we’re just flat flabbergasted with your help to get the Mary Ellen Kitundu Memorial Birthing Centre finished so we can start serving the pregnant women and their babies to the best care possible.  Thank you!

Each of you is also a peacemaker.  In this place, we have Muslims and Christians and those who are tribal-traditional working side by side to reach the same goal – to build this hospital and to serve the poor, families.  This is a place of peace.  It is a place of thanksgiving.  Each of you participates in helping this to happen with your prayer support, your caring, and your donations.  You are the light of the world. – Matthew 5:14.  

Sele will tell you about the monkey’s damage.  That monkey was playing on the electrical wires and his tail hit the transformer.  He caught fire and dropped into the grass and started a grass fire.  The Maasai quickly got that contained, but the damage to the generator was significant and it fried the motherboard of the digital x-ray. Now we’ve got protection so that won’t happen again.  

These are not circumstances one plans for in advance. But now...we know.  

Our first surgical team arrives in the third week of July.  We plan to use the birthing center by converting one room into a temporary O.R., another into Pre-Op and Prep and another into Recovery/ICU.  These will stay until the O.R./NICU building is done and be used for C-Sections when the birthing center is opened and staffed.  

Everything we’re able to do is because of you. Thank you.  

Blessings and gratitude,

Paula and Denny 

Dennis Lofstrom writing:

It is hot here in Zinga!  Very hot = 95º F. most afternoons.  My dreams are of the heavy March snows of my life in Minnesota.  The March snows are typically the heaviest of the year, and because of the last, enjoyed most of all.  May you only have cool refreshing comfortable breezes wherever you may be.   Even the cold of Antarctica seems more desirable.  The was way back in 1998, 21 years ago!  Time really does rush by.  I was 70 then and at McMurdo Station Hospital.  Now, at 91 I am at Zinga and agreeing with my colleagues that spending a couple of hours at least twice a week in the lab would be a good idea. Wouldn’t want to get rusty just because I’m a little “dusty.”  I’ve read every Louis L’Amour we’ve been able to find, so better to fill the time working.

Anyway, come out and join us!  You are never too old (or too young).  My five-year-old grandson did a great job as a water boy along with his brothers a couple of years ago.

Or, if you’re not able, help someone else to come.  We have a job for whatever talent a volunteer may have.

Thanks and blessings,


Selemani Shabani, Project Manager, Contractor writing:


Before the update I am taking this opportunity to thank every one of you being our IHP Donor, being our IHP supporter, being our IHP helper. 

Thank you so much for everything you have been doing and you are doing for IHP. We value your help, support and your donation to us. 

It is time for us to give you the updates of what is happening here in Zinga, Bagamoyo. We are busy as always and this is because of your support. You are the ones making it possible for us to be busy and we like to be busy

We are still working on the terrazzo floor for the birthing center. Right now we are grinding it and after that, we will do the finishing on it. Then the terrazzo floor for the birthing center will be a seamless, smooth surface.

Also, we have already started working on the wiring for this building. So after the terrazzo floor then we will install all the doors. The Nurses station is completed as you can see in the picture.  Soon we are going to start buying the sinks, toilets, and showers and laundry equipment. 

We are proceeding with the foundation for the children's ward. 

On the big house/hostel we are smoothing the walls.

Also, we are going on making more cement blocks for the next buildings. 

Just for you know we had to do some major repairs on the big back-up generator, x-ray machine. This is due to the burnt up of the electrical transformer which was caused by a monkey touching two phases at one time and the transformer blew up. 

We have used almost over 15 million shillings ($6,500) for the repairs. 

We had to install protection for the generator and also we are going to have protection for the x-ray machine as well as all the equipment in the hospital. 

Once again thank you so much for all your help, support and donations. May God bless you always.  Best Regards,

Selemani Shabani

My name is Sue Grimm and I have been a nurse for 25+ years.  My brother told me he was going on a mission trip to Africa. I said “How wonderful! I have been wanting to go on a mission trip.”  He responded, “Why don’t you go with me?” I thought about it, prayed about it and decided I should go.  It was one of the best decisions of my life.

I decided I would go with no expectations so that I would not be disappointed, no matter what happened.  It was beyond what I could have imagined.  The people were some of the warmest and welcoming I have ever met.  Many people cautioned me to be careful and were worried about my safety.  I never once had a concern.  

The children at the clinic are so well-mannered and so clean! Not a speck of dirt on their clothing or faces!  I was greeted without a prompt by their parents and every single one thanked me, again without being prompted. Both children and adults waited for the services without a grumble or complaint and never failed to thank me for the slightest thing I did. It was such a joy to be able to share my skills as a nurse without what worrying about protocols dictated by insurance companies.  It made me remember why I became a nurse.  If you are a nurse considering leaving the field because of all of the changes that have stolen your joy, come here.  You will remember the reason you chose this field.


My name is Bob Chadwick, I’m from Shawnee, Kansas

To the friends of the children and women of Tanzania, I send Greetings!

This update will come from a different perspective than most because my background is in information technology and software development.  Based on some previous emails with Dr. Powell, I came to Zinga expecting to find a computer system that was seriously deficient.  What I found was a software system that mostly supports the current needs of the outpatient department workflow.  The major deficiency is in government mandated reporting.  The much larger challenge comes later this summer when the birthing center opens, and the hospital changes from outpatient facility to a 24 hr., 7 days a week care facility.  Then when the neonatal intensive care unit opens, the IT system becomes a critical component in patient care.  My task is now to find a suitable hospital information system that will support both current needs and the future state.  Enough about computers.  I was amazed and humbled by the kindness shown by Paula and Denny Lofstrom, Dr. Jesse, Dr. Bon and his wife, Dr. Kenny and all the staff at the hospital. I feel like part of a big family. Also Paula’s son David, who coached me a lot as I attempted to learn some basic Swahili.  This is an amazing place.  But much more, these are truly wonderful people.  

God’s blessings on all of the staff at the hospital, all the people of Tanzania, and all of you!

Bob Chadwick

My name is Rahel Kebede, I am a fourth-year medical student at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine. I am pursuing an MD/MPH degree with a concentration in Global Health. I decided to travel to Tanzania to work at International Health Partners for several reasons. I was born and raised in Ethiopia and I had first-hand exposure to the impact of poverty on health outcomes and my sisters and I had some of the most common infectious diseases in low and middle-income countries when growing up. My childhood experience influenced my interest to work in low and middle-income countries and to pursue a degree in public health. I also had a very positive experience working in a rural town called Fort Portal in Northwest Uganda in 2017 which helped expand my desire to work in Africa as a physician and public health specialist.

I learned about Tanzania from a friend in med school who had a very rewarding experience volunteering in Zanzibar in 2018. At the outpatient clinic in Zinga, I quickly became comfortable with diagnosing and treating illnesses such as Malaria, Typhoid, different kinds of worm infestations and skin rashes. During my time at IHP, I was supervised by experienced physicians who were very eager to teach but also welcomed the contributions of a medical student.  I had the opportunity to treat infants, toddlers, adolescents and adults as well as pregnant women. I frequently used the bedside ultrasound and improved my physical exam diagnostic skills. I had the opportunity to perform minor procedures including a paracentesis.  I now feel comfortable in diagnosing and treating common tropical diseases. 

As a public health student, I also valued my exposure to the impact of access to insurance on the utilization of care and consequent health outcomes which made me more conscious of cost-effective approaches to medicine.


Blessings and gratitude to all,

Paula and Denny

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