Thursday, June 2, 2011

November 2010 (2 year recap)

Pictured: Dr. Leena Pasanen awaiting her patients at the dispensary in the village of Mkonge, Mufindi.

After a depressing October, life went on as they say at the Children’s Village in the month of November. We had some good news in the form of a couple of Mothers going home with their child as part of our new Mother-Child health program. The Mothers stayed a short time at the Children’s Village, as their child was very ill. Lucy Mvinge, who suffered from Tuberculosis herself, is now back at home in Igoda village with her daughter who is no longer dangerously ill.
As plans continue to find either income generation for the children’s village or self-sustaining practices to reduce ongoing costs, the children’s village took a big step in that direction this month as plans were enacted to start the first fruit orchard at the children’s village. Currently, the cost for meat and fruit at the children’s village is 100,000Tsh per week. Although this is not a huge sum to cover the needs of 50+ children, it will still be a cost-efficient use of money to finish this project and get some more self-sustainable practices at the children’s village. The goal is that over time costs will become more manageable, and children will learn more and more about self-reliance, as well as they will learn skills that help them in adult life.
This month also meant the completion of roofing on the Social Center social hall at the latest building project at the children’s village. The Social Center will be the heart of the children’s village giving it a focal center, and will encompass everything that the NGO does. The Social Center will have a small hall for performances, ceremonies, and even a kindergarten for children to learn so that they do not need to walk the 5km or more to school at the age of 6 and under. The second stage of the social center will include a small day-care center for those families partaking in income generating projects at the children’s village as well as if successful, families from the nearby village can use the facility for day-care purposes as well as they farm during the day. The Social Center will also have a small NGO office, and finally at the final stage a small clinic for Dr. Leena Pasanen and other volunteers to host clinics for Igoda Village, as well as keep medicines and other resources to be used at the children’s village. Also on the final stage a computer lab is planned where vocational skills will be taught to the community and its children.

Community Outreach:
A comprehensive Milk Formula program has started this year, initiated by funds from a grant acquired by the NGO from the Dar es Salaam Goat Races Charity event. This program directly addresses the transmission of HIV from Mother to child- otherwise know as vertical transmission.
HIV+ Mothers in Tanzania are advised to exclusively breastfeed their child until the age of 6 months, where a substitute is to be introduced. There are currently 28 families on the program, and we’ve seen some dramatic examples of infants getting healthier, and HIV transmission being prevented. Each visit the guardian is expected to bring the child’s clinic card that displays the child’s weight.
So far, the program is continuing well, and consults with UNICEF, USAID, the WHO, and the Helen Keller Institute have shown that this nutrition program has been designed correctly for the environment and culture.
Milk formula is too expensive for almost all families, and so this program is enabling families to keep their children healthy, and free of HIV. As more and more efforts are made towards bringing access to treatment of HIV/AIDS in the area, preventative efforts will be more and more effective and therefore important to the long-term development to this community that is so highly affected by this disease.

Health Care:

Dr. Leena Pasanen
Dr. Leena’s incredible service continued this month with her monthly clinics for children with difficult problems at the health facilities in Ibwanzi, Mdabulo, and Luhunga. She also held a clinic in the villages of Igoda, Ikanga, and Ikaning’ombe where she made her office at the village government offices. She made home visits in the remote villages of Kilosa, Kidete, and the Igereke B area of Luhunga village. She also helped to see patients during a busy ‘CTC’ day at Mdabulo, seeing those patients who arrived while all other staff was kept busy by the 100s of HIV+ patients that arrived that day. Dr. Leena also continues to bring a steady stream of other volunteers with her as well, who are able to offer their services and specialties as well. We are very proud that Dr. Leena is with us and gives her time to the 16 villages in the three wards that surround us.

Ibwanzi Health Facility
The UK-based organization Solar AID has responded again to a proposal written by Foxes’ NGO in Tanzania and has provided the Ibwanzi Health Facility with Solar Panels providing the facility with much-needed electricity. This comes at a great time, as the addition fully compliments the developments Foxes’ NGO has added to the facility including a 30-bed in-patient ward, a water-catchment system, and countless resources collected and sent via container from abroad. We are happy this partnership continues to have a positive impact on projects initiated by Foxes’ NGO, and it is encouraging to have this support for the people of Mufindi.

Igoda Community Hall
Events at the Community hall are continuing with great attendance to all events. Bibi and Babu chai (grandmother and grandfather tea day) are consistently attended by over one hundred patrons on each day. This has been a really great development as far as appreciation for the elderly is concerned. All attendees are over the age of 70 and many are reuniting with long lost friends and relatives and catching up on how everyone is doing. This group of people has seen such amazing change within their lifetimes, as each of them were over 20 years old at the time of Independence.
Preparations for World AIDS Day are going nicely, as this year’s event (slated again for December 1st) will have a more local feel. The entire timetable, and schedule of performers are from the three wards of Luhunga, Mdabulo and Ihanu, and we expect the event to have a more open feel, as it will only be attended by people from the area.

Luhunga Secondary School Library
We’re excited about this African Book box funded project as students from Igoda Primary and other primary schools in the Luhunga ward will attend this school and the standard of good quality education will continue on into Secondary School. Cement plastering has continued this month and is nearly complete, and painting and furnishings will be next. The school has been using the existing library very sparingly for now in anticipation of this library opening up. This library will be a learning resource that will include computers that have been donated by an organization called IT Africa, and sent to us through Orphans in the Wild in the latest container. It may take a short time for students to become accustomed to using a library, as only those from Igoda primary will have had previous experience, but it is anticipated that this facility will help bring this new school some great success, and will help leave behind the poor results of recent years.

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