Bugando Medical Centre is a leading referral and teaching hospital in Tanzania and a long-standing partner of Americares. It serves nearly one-third of the population.
In addition to providing Bugando with ongoing access to medicine and medical supplies, Americares has been working for the past seven years to improve health worker safety for Bugando’s health workers through safety training and donations of critical safety-oriented supplies and vaccines for Bugando’s 2,000 health workers and medical students.
The successful program has been expanded by our staff in country to include three more hospitals. We also support Bugando’s Obstetric Fistula Repair program, which provides cost-free repairs for this devastating childbirth-related injury.
Tanzania remains one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking in the bottom fifth of the United Nation’s Human Development Index. Although the country has avoided the armed conflicts that have troubled many in the region, the general population has seen little progress in economic development. With few resources to invest in health care, infant and maternal mortality rates remain very high while Infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, diarrheal diseases and respiratory infections are leading causes of death. A rising burden of chronic disease, including diabetes and shortage of qualified health workers add to the health care challenges facing the country. And now the COVID-19 pandemic presents a new threat for the aleady fragile health system
According to the WHO, the coronavirus is spreading rapidly across sub-Saharan Africa.
While Tanzania has only a few hundred reported cases, the actual infection rate is assumed to be much higher and the capacity to treat the outbreak is severely limited. The country’s challenges to containing the outbreak include: Low healthcare budgets and capacity (limited trained staff and only 7 hospital beds per 10,000 people compared to 29 beds per 10,000 people in the U.S.); Severe shortages of PPE, medicines and equipment and a lack of WASH infrastructure including a lack of clean running water; Widespread misinformation.
Americares Tanzania team has been actively responding to the virus since March, providing three longstanding partners with vital supplies to ensure they can continue to provide care, including programs supported by Americares.
Since late March 2020, Americares has provided partners in Tanzania with a total of $6.6 million in medicines and supplies.
Additionally, we are working to ensure that vital health programs, such as the fistula repair and recovery program for women at the Bugando Medical Center, can continue providing those life-changing and lifesaving health services.
Obstetric fistula is a debilitating birth injury that can result from prolonged childbirth without proper medical care. This injury can leave women permanently incontinent and, as a result, they are often rejected by their families and communities. Americares provides support for Bugando to expand its surgical capacity for obstetric fistula repairs, improve quality of services and pre- and post-operative care through life skills and literacy training and physical therapy, and to increase advocacy and educational outreach campaigns in northern Tanzania. Women who receive care from Bugando leave the hospital healthier, more confident, and able to rejoin their communities.
Americares successful program helps to keep a nurse, her family and patients safe