KSJHF News, July 3, 2016
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few” Luke:10.2
Several years back I had a dream of building an orthopedic hospital in East Africa. I could not convince myself that I would be able to raise the three million dollars necessary to do so. Fund raising is not one of my talents. By chance I drifted to Bukoba City in NW Tanzania and eventually found St. Joseph Hospital (SJH) in a rural setting. The admiration was supportive of the care that I wished to provide there. Our mission is now into its 7th year and is ever expanding. Many thanks to Dr’s Tom Setter and Joe Pilon who led me to this place.
My dream of establishing a training program for orthopedic surgeons in Northern Tanzania is an even older dream going back over 20 years when I served at the nearby Bugando Medical Centre (BMC) in Mwanza. I had easy access to the Ministry of health in The Tanzanian government but I was not successful. Now a Tanzanian Orthopedic Surgeon has succeeded, and that is the way it should be. Dr. Isidor Ngayomela, chief of Orthopedics at the BMC, accepted two residents a year ago into the training program and they will soon begin regular rotations at SJH.
At SJH these residents will lean to perform the surgical procedures necessary to their specialty. They will have excellent support from our well-trained staff, full access to our operating theatre and with the financial support of the Kagondo St. Joseph Hospital Foundation (KSJHF), a reliable source of orthopedic implants and power equipment. They will work with our well-established amputee center (Jaipur Foot) and will have excellent anesthesia for the patients.
One recent accomplishment of the KSJHF is the establishment of skin grafting capability. We purchased a Padget dermatome for taking skin grafting three years ago. It broke down but we had it repaired and the four skin grafts we performed last November were excellent. Last month the KSJHF purchased a Zimmer Meshgraft II on the used market for 25% of the cost of a new one ($3,800). The mesh grafter is a hand-propelled mill that makes multiple holes in the graft which allows it to expand like a peace of lace to cover wide areas and areas of reduced circulation. This piece of equipment was made possible by my friends of 70 years, Jerry and Bobbi Shanahan and our board member, Jim O’Brien.
In the past two years we have introduced SIGN intramedullary nails for broken tibias and femurs and modern digital x rays through Rotary grants and financial support of my fellow volunteer orthopedic surgeons. This year’s Rotary project is the construction of a water collection and storage system that will collect rainwater from the roofs of the hospital; during the two rainy seasons the downpours are tropical but a long dry spell often follows and then the bore hole (well) goes dry.
We have future needs at the hospital that exceeds the financial capacity of myself and my fellow volunteers. This year we will introduce prosthetic implants for broken hips (Austin Moore Prostheses) which are not available in Northern Tanzania. We need to replace plates and screws that are being used for our procedures. We also need to install satellite internet service at the hospital.
At this point I need to reach out to all of you for assistance. I am offering you a way to participate in the work we are accomplishing. Donations to the KSJHF are needed and will be greatly appreciated. Small donations add up to large sums, so help with what you can afford. Perhaps you can only afford your prayers but that is a large gift and has brought us to where we are today. Keep us ever in your prayers.
In early October I am leading my dream team to SJH; three nurses experienced in anesthesia, operating room and recovery room -intensive care will accompany me. We will carry supplies and purchase more supplies in Uganda on our way to SJH. Expect the second newsletter by the end of this year. All our volunteers fund their own travel.
Donations can be sent to me at:
W W. Schaefer, MD
P O Box 6374
Incline Village, NV 89450.
The check should be made out to Kagondo St Joseph Hospital Foundation. But do not put this on the envelope as the post office has sometimes returned the envelope to sender.
A receipt will be mailed if requested. If you do not wish to receive these newsletters, reply “unsubscribe”. Look for a website managed by my daughter, Gretchen, in coming months.
God bless you all,
Wend Schaefer, MD