Year in review
Much has been accomplished at St Joseph Hospital in the past year and I am confident that we will achieve our 2021 goals. Here are the highlights of the year in review.
Upgrade of lower limb prosthetics
In January we purchased materials from Swiss Limbs to convert the simple screw at the ankle of lower limb prosthetics to the modern Soft Ankle Cushion Heel (SACH) foot ankle unit. The heel of this device is soft, so the amputee compresses the soft heel in stepping forward to simulate the normal foot-ankle motion of the human body. The SACH is also far more durable than the metallic screw previously in use.
Purchase of new laundry equipment
Our old laundry equipment had stopped working. Linens and drapes for theatre were washed by hand a hung to dry. This not only failed to meet sanitary standards, but also caused undue wear and tear on the cloth.
Purchase of new instruments and implants
Every year we assess what has been used during the past year and order replacements and estimates on what will be needed in the current year. This year we purchased an assortment of Austin Moore prostheses (AMP) to be used for treating broken hips. The AMP is a hemi-arthroplasty (half of a total hip replacement) without cement. In the not-too-distant past this was considered the best option for certain types of broken hips in many developed nations. We purchase the implants and instruments from a company in Kampala, Uganda. The implants are made in Asia.
We continue to pay the hospital and surgical expenses for Orthopedic patients, amputees, burn patients and victims of trauma. Our physicians pay a monthly visit to a school for handicapped children to treat children living there because of albinism. While there, our physicians apply liquid nitrogen to the actinic keratoses (pre-cancerous lesions) of the children. Recall that these albino children are still subject to being hunted and killed for their body parts.
Onset of treatment of hypothyroidism and goiters
Large goiters are exceedingly common in the area and hypothyroidism including cretinism is thought to be also very high. An otolaryngologist from a nearby large hospital has begun to perform goiter surgery.
We have begun the educational program to teach the people in the area to always use iodized salt which will prevent both of these conditions. One of our board members, Jim O’Brien, is preparing a large grant proposal to present to Rotary International to teach the people how to prevent goiters and thyroid disease. We are confident of approval
Another board member, Ellen Murphy RN, has started a teaching program in post-operative care of thyroidectomy patients. The hospital has sent a nurse to a nearby teaching facility to be trained in intensive care of surgical patients which will be the standard of care needed for post-op thyroidectomy patients.
Our big project for 2021 is to build another for our prosthetic center. With the new materials that we bought last year the centre has become very overcrowded and we need to add toilet facilities for the patients. We supply artificial limbs for patients in a large part of Northern Tanzania. The cost will as much as $15,000.
Financial needs 2021
In the five years of existence of this charitable foundation I personally have been by far the greatest contributor. In 2021 my income will be greatly reduced. More donations from all of you will be needed. I have a nice list of potential donors, many who are annual contributors. I ask that each of you make a donation to pull us through.
Perhaps what you can contribute is very small. As an incentive I will personally offer to match every donation dollar for dollar of all donations through the end of this year. Every small and large donation will thus be doubled. If you haven’t made a donation this year, please do it now as you consider our needs for 2021.
Remember to make all purchases at Amazon through “Amazon Smile” in our account’s name (ksjhf). We receive 0.5% of each item purchased in this way. It is starting to add up.
Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year,
Wend Schafer, M. D.
President, Kagondo St. Joseph Hospital Foundation