In April, I walked into the operating theater at Bagamoyo District Hospital and said, "Oh my..." There were broken windows covered with flaps of cardboard, most of what equipment there was didn't work properly, including the overhead lamps, the air conditioner didn't work, and there was no generator, meaning that if they lost power (which happens every day), they were on their own. It became a 'sub-project' to work with them to put together an analysis of what they needed to be able to improve the quality of care and better meet the needs of the community they serve. The issue got elevated, and, amazingly, they are getting a renovated theater. In the interim, a former pediatric ward has been modified to become a temporary theater, complete with clowns, balloons, and bunnies painted on the walls. The temporary theater is many times nicer than the old theater already. It even has doors that close tight, solid windows and a separate recovery area, scrub room, and staff/charting room. I can't begin to say how thrilling this was. Below is the before shot, followed by a couple shots of the new theater (unfortunately a procedure was in process as I was visiting and I have no pictures of the actual theater itself).
The 'real' project involved putting together an educational/clinical collaboration between Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) and the Bagamoyo Health District. This involves student training in the district, which, like all of Tanzania, has a severe shortage of health professionals. An adjunct to this is a need for a place for students to live while they are there. Thanks to a grant from the US Centers for Disease Control, thatnow exists. It was another thrilling moment while visiting Bagamoyo. MUHAS owns four houses close to the district hospital. In the spring they were a wreck and I seriously wondered if they were salvageable. Today, they are beautiful, behind a new gate and guardhouse, and complete with a new washroom building in the middle of the plot with showers, toilets, and many sinks. The houses will accommodate 32 students. Below are before and after pictures.
In December, a new inter-professional education program focused on maternal and child health is starting in Bagamoyo. The program will involve medical students on OB/GYN and Pediatric rotations and students from nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, and public health all working together and following inpatient and outpatient cases. It is really exciting.
In addition, I am working on a proposal for another program geared toward maternal and child health. This program is focused on rural health centers and dispensaries in the District, and involves education and skills training for staff as well as mHealth (mobile health), including using cellular technology to offer clinical guidelines, emergency information in the field, and data collection. We are looking for a partner for the mHealth function.
Lots of changes, and truly amazing forward momentum. I am grateful.