Thursday, June 16, 2011

May 2011

Pictured: A Mother and her child are visited as part of the Home Based Care program.

Every two weeks the staff at the children’s village has a meeting where issues in raising the children are discussed, and solutions to problems that arise are presented. Recently a specific staff meeting about nutrition was held and hosted by Peace Corps Volunteer and Foxes’ NGO volunteer, Meredith Pinto. Meredith prepared a tutorial on what kinds of foods are important for children, and what proportions of foods should be served to healthy children. An example of portion size was given as an actual serving of healthy food was prepared so the guardians could see what types of food, and how much food to serve the children on each given day. Meredith used nutritional information from a packet of information written in Kiswahili that was prepared by USAID, Heifer International, and the Tanzanian Government.

Home Based Care
Volunteer Meredith Pinto has taken over as Home Based Care coordinator after original coordinator Dr. Abdallah Maganga was called back to the government system to do more work in Mafinga town. This month she hosted the first of many staff meetings including all of the volunteers. The volunteers had been working for two weeks, and came to discuss some of the issues they had all seen. The meeting included a guest from the local Care and Treatment Center (CTC) who gave more in depth teaching on caring for wounds, and spoke about the need for compassion in this service.
Meredith, and Justin Dominguez also visited with home based care volunteers in the village of Kidete where they saw first hand what kind of work the volunteers are doing. The two volunteers, Obonye and Serophina, showed them various different patients with varying illnesses including HIV, sever bronchitis, and podoconiosis which is better known as mossy foot.
The goal of this program is to streamline the work being done at the Mdabulo Care and Treatment Center and to educate the masses on how to use the resources there. We also hope it encourages a return to the culture of helping your neighbor that has been present here in Mufindi for generations, but has been wavering with the devastating effects of HIV and poverty in the area.

Milk Powder Program
Part of the Home based care program will eventually include the milk formula program. The milk formula program is designed specifically to halt the vertical transmission of HIV from Mother to child. Two new cases came to the NGO this month. One, a three month old infant who’s mother is HIV positive and two months prior became sick with tuberculosis and could no longer nurse her child. The only way the child could survive was through this program. Another infant, two days old, was literally brought to our doorstep after his mother had died after child birth. The milk formula program saved the lives of both of these children.
Currently the milk powder program is funded by African Book box, but longer term funding efforts have already started including efforts to make connections with the companies that manufacture the milk formula.

Dr. Leena Pasanen
Dr. Leena continued her world famous service in Mufindi with her final two visits before taking her annual leave to Finland. She held clinics at the Health facilities in Luhunga and Mdabulo, and she helped with in-patient care at a ‘CTC day’ at Mdabulo when hundreds of patients came for their monthly HIV treatment regimen. She also held a clinic in the village of Ilasa as part of the outreach program. Ilasa is an isolated village that is 8 kilometers from any health facility. In other words, a three and half hour walk. For people with sick children, this is a potentially life-saving service Dr. Leena has provided. She also visited patients in their homes in the villages of Igoda and Mlevelwa ho were unable to leave their beds. Dr. Leena’s service continues to inspire us all.

Igoda Community Hall
This month a seminar was held on the benefits of improved farming techniques. 40 people from eight surrounding villages participated in the seminar. The agiriculture officers from Mdabulo and Luhunga wards were present, and they taught the values of better growing methods, and harvesting for maize and beans- the staple product in our area and much of Tanzania. The families then were encouraged to use these methods in the farms at their own homes, and to lead as examples of good farming for their neighbors to follow. We hope these lessons will be shared, and that once again the community hall will bring the community together for the purpose of sharing education.

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