Breathing Easier in Tanzania

Tanzania2017_2Our team of 10 SCL Health associates and two physicians have been in Arusha, Tanzania, for a week and have already accomplished so much. From teaching caregivers to perform a bronchoscopy to installing the new x-ray machine and data storage hardware, their work is having a tremendous impact on the lives of so many in need of care.

A New Skill
With a crowd of enthusiastic participants gathered around, Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre’s (ALMC) first bronchoscopy was performed this week.Tanzania2017_1 Our team provided the new bronchoscope as well as interactive training videos and hands-on practice so, when needed, the clinicians were ready to use their new skills.

Shortly after, a patient with a chronic cough was admitted who would benefit greatly from a bronchoscopy. Our team quickly hooked up the new equipment and the ALMC medical staff and students were able to participate in the procedure. With this simple test, they were able to rule out any significant pathology, including cancer. Previously, doctors at ALMC would have had to subject the patient to many more tests, and may not have been able to rule out several possible causes.

X-Rays and IT: The Work Continues
Remember that 40-year-old, broken x-ray machine at Selian Lutheran Hospital? Thanks to some hard work and muscle from our volunteers and ALMC staff, it’s out of there! Our team has replaced it with an x-ray machine donated by Saint Joseph Hospital. This new system will provide years of reliable imaging moving forward, an incredible advancement for a hospital that has not had any x-ray capability for years. Still, can you imagine a hospital having x-ray and CT images, but not being able to store them?

Data storage is something we rarely have to think about in the United States, but in Tanzania it is a huge obstacle to ongoing patient care. Until this trip to Tanzania, ALMC had to dump all of their data every eight weeks because there wasn’t enough storage. This meant that, if a patient came back with a recurring issue, there was no record of their previous treatment. For the last week, our IT team has been working on installing storage hardware that will be able to store x-ray images. Tanzania2017_4Thanks to our volunteers’ dedicated work, not only will historical images now be available, but ALMC staff will be able to transmit them to other locations around the world to be interpreted by people with radiology expertise.

Messages of Thanks
SCL Health’s generous donations of time, equipment and supplies never go unnoticed by the staff at ALMC. Watch Sister Paulina and Sister Tumaini share a video message of thanks for the kindness of SCL Health!

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