For 15 years, Tanzanian Children’s Fund has been committed to providing free and quality healthcare to our community of 10,000. While treating over 120 patients each week at our Rural Community Health Clinic, our health team began to notice a pattern: patients were returning with the same preventable illnesses week after week. This fueled our decision to launch a Public Health Program and has motivated newly appointed Director of Public Health, Sheyanga Beecher, to create an action plan for community wellness.
Since launching this exciting new program in January, we have implemented a series of public health initiatives to assist women, children, and other vulnerable populations within the Oldeani community. In Tanzania, physicians record height, weight, and administer vaccines to infants, but they do not provide mothers with any guidance on what they can do to support their newborn or what they should expect as their babies grow and develop.
Our new Mama ni Mimi (Mama and Me) class seeks to fill that gap by educating mothers on topics such as proper nutrition, sleep cycles, and the importance of play in a child’s development. The class has created a new community where all mothers can feel empowered and prepared. “The more seasoned mothers offer advice to first time mothers, and all mothers are encouraged to share their experiences of joy, stress, and concern with the group,” Sheyanga explained.
Sheyanga and our on-site Registered Nurse, Katie Anderson, have also added comprehensive health classes to the Gyetighi Primary School curriculum.
Students are taught topics ranging from proper hygiene to basic first-aid to ensure a holistic education and continued success. Whether it be introducing a new song that teaches students how to properly wash their hands or offering essential life-skills to help guide their development, we are providing all of our students with the knowledge they need to achieve a bright and healthy future.
With a variety of other dynamic initiatives underway, including nutrition support and disease prevention seminars, our Public Health Program is already making major strides in addressing common health issues before they become medical emergencies. Action that allows children and families to access the opportunities they deserve!