Background to the Current Health Project (see Health Centre Tazama na Tunza project plan June 14)
Health work in local partnership between Tanzania and UK began in 1990 when Ruth Chorley, a UK nurse, went out to the area with Mission Aviation Fellowship. She initiated a work with the Tanganyika Diocese starting a community HIV awareness programme, involving training village volunteer health workers and treating people in recognised communities. The work was recognised and adopted by Tearfund. This work continued to develop after she left and the HIV work itself grew into a national scheme.
Ruth now tries to return annually to Dodoma and has taught on forgiveness, family life, how to care for your own health. She tries to visit those in the church and community who are sick while she is there. Jenny also has been visiting Dodoma with her “Vision Mission”. Jenny recycles spectacles with known prescriptions and then tests the local Tanzanian church members and pastors eyesight for reading, before distributing free spectacles. (Spectacles are far too expensive to buy for most people.) She has also trained up a local volunteer to do this work.
More recently Ruth is seeking to find a way forward for the self-care treatment of chronic health conditions. There is 1 doctor per 52,000 population in Tanzania and 1 doctor per 420 population in UK.. So it is very important that people are aware how to make informed healthy choices about how to live and have the support and knowledge they need to do this.
Tanzania (UK) Trust has embarked on a way forward to develop a local programme of trained church health volunteers who will visit those in the church and community who are sick/ have chronic health conditions and enable them to change their lifestyle and choices so that they have a better quality of life and healthier outcomes. Ruth won a bursary from the CPHVA to start this work in 2014. The training is ongoing and there will be annual Medical Trips to Dodoma.