Reaching Children’s Potential in the Tanzanian Highlands
July 31, 2018
Michele Gran, Co-founder and Sr. Vice President, Global Volunteers
A multi-year family foundation grant has enabled Global Volunteers to collaborate with long-standing Tanzania partners to bring basic health care services to mothers and children in remote villages. The Ipalamwa Health Clinic will serve six remote rural communities, and stands as the centerpiece of the organization’s Reaching Children’s Potential (RCP) Demonstration Program in the Iringa Region.
RCP is a comprehensive program that focuses on pregnant women and children through their 18th birthday, emphasizing the first 1,000 days. The program addresses food, nutrition, fuel efficient stoves, health care, hygiene, disease prevention, education, psychosocial support, girls’ schooling, clean water, sanitation, jobs, and transportation. It was clear from the beginning, said Global Volunteers Chairman and CEO Bud Philbrook, that the clinic component was crucial to ensure local access to adequate health care and protection from infectious diseases. “The clinic exponentially expands our ability to meet all the RCP program goals, especially preventing childhood stunting,” said Philbrook.
The clinic features modern medical equipment, a sterile delivery room, a maternity room for up to four days of postnatal care, and a well-supplied pharmacy. A staff of two doctors, three nurses, a well-baby attendant, lab technician, nine outreach caregivers, receptionist, and clinic manager serve the 2,000 family members who have enrolled in the RCP program to date.
Short-term volunteers of all ages and backgrounds are engaged year-round at the clinic, the schools and throughout the villages to share knowledge, capacities, new ideas, and simply “extra hands” to help meet the myriad needs of pregnant women, mothers and their children. Two significant projects are manufacturing and planting raised “garden boxes” for families to grow vegetables and fruits for micro-nutrient supplementation. Another is construction of handwashing stations supplying soap and water in central locations throughout the village.
Global Volunteers is an international NGO enabling individuals, groups and families to work and live with, and learn from, local people on comprehensive community development projects for one to three weeks at a time. All program and travel costs are tax-deductible.