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May 2020 Update from IHP

Charles Powell writing:

Hello to all, and greetings once again from Zinga.  My one-month trip has turned out to be much more prolonged than originally planned, now closing onto the beginning of my fourth month here.  Fortunately, it looks like a flight home is possible on June 2nd.  Don’t misunderstand, I would love to stay but I’m not quite ready for retirement and I would be willing to stay indefinitely if my wife were here with me.  Ah, but plans must be flexible.

I have to thank the staff here for a number of things.  First, they have done a wonderful job of limiting my contact with outsiders and avoiding exposure to COVID-19.  Protective gear is not readily available here, but the staff generally has been very good regarding the wearing of masks, especially around me.  This trip was never planned for extensive patient care, so I have found other activities to occupy my time.  Selemani and I have been actively working on repairing some of the electronics on the campus, including the power stabilizers, which are now both reinstalled and back online, a large battery backup supply for the X-ray machine that had an impressive fault from a power surge, and some repairs to the phone system, including rebuilding and updating the system.  Yet to be done before I leave is to prepare for new computers and office phones in our newly designated administrative offices.  We have selected a human resources manager who will be starting before the end of the month.  Aside from the wonderful feeling that we are growing to the point where we need to fill this position, it means that we must get serious about designating dedicated office space for various departments, such as HR and accounting. I am very happy to be here to see this progress.

So, how does more staff benefit IHP?   For a very long time, we have had many of the medical personnel performing administrative tasks.  We have seen an upsurge in patient numbers.  This is due to a number of factors, not the least of which is coming onboard as certified providers for the Tanzanian National Health Insurance Fund.  We expect to see steadily rising patient visit numbers, but aside from that, we are on the brink of a monumental shift in the staffing and the workload.  I realize that many factors have come into play to delay the opening of the Mary Ellen Kitundu Memorial Birthing Center, but on the day that it opens we will experience a whole new dimension of patient care.  Rightfully, we want to be ready for the coming days.

The photo below shows the results of a Tanzanian power surge.   

These are called Metal Oxide Varistors or MOVs.  I engaged in a different sort of surgery, using the table out on the porch as our operating room.  But this was also an opportunity to work with Selemani, our construction manager, to expand his knowledge base.  Repairing the unit these were in returned backup power to our X-ray machine.

Charles Powell, M.D., President, IHP-U.S., Inc.

Dr. Jesse Kitundu writing:

The heavy rains continued up to the third week of May, causing floods around us. The road to the clinic was not passable in some areas. We were not able to use the coaster (bus) so instead, we used the Canter (the truck) to carry the workers to the main road where they could catch the busses to go home. The Vodavoda (motorcycles used as taxis) could not reach us, so some patients and workers walked on foot to the clinic. We are thankful that the Caterpillar Bobcat was sometimes used to pull the stuck truck or patient’s cars out of the mud.

Apart from the problem of floods, COVID 19 spiked up from March to the 3rd week of May. This was a very hard time for everybody. This affected our performance; the number of patients went down ever since.  Now the situation is gradually improving.

We thank you very much for your donations of basic needs for protection, like the gloves, masks, soaps for washing hands, sanitizers and disinfectants.  Though we had suspected patients with Covid-19, the staff were well-trained and protected.  We are safe so far and continue to follow the guidelines. 

Dear Friends of Mothers and Children of Tanzania, thank you for your continuing supporting us during these hard times. Stay blessed. Once the situation normalizes the doors are still open, you are welcome.

Jesse A. Kitundu M.D



Dr. Kenny George reporting:

Dear IHP donors,

We pray God is keeping you all Safe through this Pandemic for it shall end.

Here at the clinic we just went through the heavy rains attending a lot of admissions due to fungal infections of the foot (tinea pedis) and also viral coughs induced by the weather changes. We are also getting good feedback from our previous hypertension and diabetes outreach programs and education where the newly diagnosed diabetics are coming for treatment.

This is (Mr. Kidudu Myinyimvua) a patient who was diagnosed with diabetes where the blood sugar was High-20mmol/l (U.S. blood sugar measurement, 360) with frequent urination but after therapy now he is really thankful no more frequent visits to the toilet stabilizing Blood sugar at 5mmol/l(fbg) (U.S. blood sugar measurement, 90).

This is Mrs. Theodosia Paul.  She presented at the outpatient department with a history of chronic cough for over 2 months which was productive. She had a long history of epigastric burning and a sort of pain. Her previous medical history showed that she had tested negative for Mycobacterium Tuberculosis on sputum. We did an X-ray. Mrs. Paul was treated for of peptic ulcer and lobar pneumonia with augmentin and erythromycin for a week then follow-up after 2 weeks. 

After 2 weeks the patient returned with decreased coughing, decreased epigastric discomfort and was very happy to be feeling so much better.

We and the patients dearly thank you for the support you are showing.  May God Shower you with Blessings.

Kenny George, M.D., The Children’s Hospital at Zinga

Selemani Shabani writing:

Dear Friends of the Children of Tanzania,

This is an exciting time for us. We are in the finishing stages on the sewage system for the birthing center, clean water, oxygen ìnstallation, and final painting. 

The MCH (Maternal and Child Health) building walls are being smoothed to prepare for painting, conduit pipework, plumbing, floors, doors, windows, ceilings, painting, water and electricity are all in process. 

The NICÙ (Neonatal Intensive Care) building remaining work is to smooth the walls, conduit pipework, plumbing, floors, doors, windows, ceilings, painting work, water and electricity. Of course, we were hoping for volunteers this year to assist with all of this work, but we are continuing as best we can with the staff and money we have, for now.

The finishing touches are always labour-intensive and expensive.  We are working on the walls for the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) building right now.

It all takes so much money, energy and time.  For all of these activities, we depend on you, the IHP donors. 

And because so much is happening here and being constructed, we run low on money.  I mean really low.  I have said this many times, I am saying it again, that without you we couldn't be where we are today without your support and faithfulness.

Thank you so much for all the help, for the things you have been sending to us, and for the support and time and your giving for IHP JEMA.

We have faith that this project will be done one day. You people are very important to this project.  Thank you. We are overwhelmed by your generosity. And all these little children are being seen and given good medical care through your hands. 

God bless you all.

God bless you all. 

God bless you all and forever. 

Selemani Shabani, Construction Manager

A further note from Charles Powell:

Does anyone know, or know of, a company shipping to Tanzania that might allow the addition of items if they have extra space?

In the past, we have either obtained or had donated full-sized containers, filled them, and shipped them to Tanzania.  We will have need of future full-sized containers, but at this time and with the disruptions caused by COVID-19, we will have some items that should be sent but should not wait until our next full container.  The interval before our next container could be a considerable span of time, depending on how the pandemic resolves and how long it is before we return to normal operations.  

Aside from that, there are items we would like to send from time to time that are too large to carry but far removed from the next container that is going out.

Here are the possible items we may send from contributions:

· High end computer servers from a server “farm” in Houston

· VOIP phones to add to our phone system

· A radio system, possibly ~20 radios plus a radio repeater for communications across the campus

· Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries that could be used to maintain the operation of certain of ancillary items during the frequent power outages

Of course, the ideal situation would be to find a company that will forward things for us as a charitable contribution.  Nonetheless, it would likely be quite reasonable, far less expensive than another full container, and it would result in items arriving months or even years ahead of the next container.

Please advise.  Charles

Denny and Paula writing: Like you, we are experiencing very different times.  But it’s not all bad by any means.  My son David has been putting in a lovely garden around our newly poured back patio (the old one sunk a foot over the 40 years since this house was built on fill).  Soon I’ll be able to work outside when writing thank you notes for the generous donors to IHP.   It is, indeed, the donors that make all of this possible.  To help, please send what you are comfortable sending to: IHP – Matt West, Treasurer 8016 N Everton Ave. Kansas City, MO. 64152 Or, go to our website, and click on Donate Or, call Matt at 816-985-4406 and he’ll put it on your credit or debit card.  Thank you.   Mostly, I’ve been in the basement making face masks with HEPA filters.  For the moment I’m caught up except for an order for another 20 from a church in Iowa yesterday.  I’m always happy to receive more orders.  We want each and every one of you to be as safe as possible.   Denny and I are going to go ahead and plan a fall-winter-spring speaking schedule, depending on whether or not there will be an upsurge in Covid-19 cases and whether or not churches will be safely open and whether or not schools, colleges, and medical schools, Rotary and other service clubs will want us to present the story of IHP to them. So, please, if you’d like us to come to talk with you or your group, let me know.  For now, it looks like we’ll start in September and go to Minnesota and Iowa.  Then we’ll go to New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois and probably back to Kansas City for Christmas.   After Christmas, we’ll head south.  We’re planning to end up in Orlando at the end of March, then return to K.C. and back to Tanzania in early April.  If you’d like to have us come, please let me know by phone, 870-404-4491, or email – Blessings and gratitude, Paula and Denny


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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