I am Dr. Henry Ziegler, a medical doctor with both clinical and public heath training. For the last ten years, my wife Priscilla and I have been working with our Tanzanian and international partners to improve and maintain the health of thousands poor Tanzanians. Tanzania is a poor East African country of 48 million people just south of Kenya. No, they do not have Ebola. Since 2012, a group of us have started the Health Tanzania Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to expand the involvement and help for our work.
After three and half years full time in Tanzania, I return three times a year to continue to partner with our Tanzania colleagues and build something special. Friends are always asking me: What do you do when you go to Tanzania? Maybe this description of my trip February trip will help explain. I did consult on three or four patients, but most of my work is organizational and helping move the programs forward.
Friday, Feb. 20: I arrived at Dar es Salaam Airport and was met by our driver, Anania, who is also one of our lab technicians, our painter and at time our interpreter. As usual, he was driving the the health center car, a 20 year old Suzuki that we imported used from Japan, when our first Tanzanian car fell apart. Anania claims it is a new car since virtually every part of it has been replaced.
We drove to the Buguruni Anglican Health Centre to say hello to the staff. I then went to see Alice, the Ugandan head of the next door St. Augustine English Medium Primary School. The school serves 750 students and is expanding.
I had brought money for the Chakula (food) for kids program which gives 250 of the students a nutritious midmorning meal. These children otherwise would get no breakfast and often no lunch. I also had another computer as we continue to support the school’s computer program. We talked about an AIDS orphan for whom we had found a donor; beginning a badly needed “evening” school for older youth and adults who needed to complete primary or secondary education; and an adult-teen mission team that is coming from the Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Dunn Loring, Virginia. I asked Alice what she wanted the team to do that would be most helpful to Alice and the school. The school is an important part of our Health Tanzania work, since quite a number of public health experts would say that if you could do one thing for a family and community’s health it would be to educate the women.