Rainwater collection at Terrat Dispensary
Dear Friends and Donors,
Firstly, we'd like to thank you for all your generosity over the last four months! It has been needed more than ever. We told you in February that - after 6 months that were relatively free of obvious COVID infections - the situation seemed to be getting much worse in Tanzania. The situation did indeed continue to deteriorate as Tanzania experienced its second, and very serious, wave of the virus. And whilst the rural Simanjiro region in which our work is based was reasonably spared in the first wave last year, this time - despite lack of testing and official diagnosis - it was clear that there was a significant number of COVID-attriburable deaths throughout the region. You will have heard of the death of Dr Magufuli, the President, during the month of March. More tragically for us, our friend, community leader and head of our local partner organisation OMASI, Martin Saning'o Kariongi also passed away from COVID complications on the 1st March.
The COVID wave has now seemingly ended, and has spurred the new President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, to consult on a new COVID strategy for the nation. We were pleased to be able to use your donations to help the Dispensary in Terrat get through this wave, with support including PPE, quick and easy-to-administer lateral flow antigen COVID tests (otherwise impossible for the dispensary to obtain), improving the power system and other clinic facilities, and providing funds for the acquisition of additional lab equipment.
Acknowledging the difficulty and expense for some patients to be able to reach the dispensary to see a doctor (which might involve a journey of more than 10km in each direction, on foot!), we have been working with Dr Tumaini and his colleagues in Terrat on developng and trialling a "teleconsultation" using video calls, to allow patients to see the doctor without needing to leave their villages. Initial feedback has been very enthusiastic, both from patients (time and cost savings) and the doctors as well (ability to deliver better healthcare, reach more of the community, and catch symptoms and problems much earlier on). With your support, we hope to continue to develop this system in coming months, to provide better access to healthcare to more of these very remote rural communities.
If you would like to share this update, and link to the project page on GlobalGiving, with your friends, relatives and colleagues, we, and the people of Terrat village and the surrounding area, will be extremely grateful.
Many thanks for your continued support - we look forward to updating you again soon
Bernie & Team in Terrat
With Dr Tumaini - the Terrat doctor
Testing the teleconsultation concept near Terrat
New power system in the dispensary laboratory
Martin Kariongi working the Maasai community