USPG

Cycling Group

Photograph of the cycling group who took part in the Galway Challenge in 2002 and which raised over 15,000 euro for St. Annes Hospital in Liuli.
The cyclists were:
L-R Lawrence O'Reilly, David Garrett, James Anderson, Robert Lawson, George Chambers, Hal McGuckin, David Dobson, Eddie Colton, Gordon Kellett and Eddie Greene.

USPG is an Anglican mission agency with a successful 300-year track record of enabling people to grow spiritually, to thrive physically and to have a voice in an unjust world. We do this in partnership with churches around the world, providing the resources - people, money and ideas - that they define as necessary to meet local needs.

In 2002, the Parish decided to sponsor the St Anne’s Hospital, Liuli in Tanzania Project as a result of an address given by Karin Johnson of USPG on Mission Sunday. Here is the most up-to-date report from this project.

St Anne’s Hospital, Liuli in Tanzania

Update from USPG Project 124, March 2006

St Anne's Hospital is in a remote location on the eastern shore of Lake Malawi and serves a population of 100,000 people. The infrastructure is very limited. Many people walk for days to attend the hospital. Here is an update.

Preventing the spread of malaria:
St Anne’s has expanded its malaria prevention programme by distributing treated mosquito nets. Dr Charles Peter Hinju said: ‘We believe that following health advice given on the importance of using these nets, people will begin using them, especially the people with a high risk of infection: children and pregnant mothers. Most beds on our paediatric ward are occupied by children with malaria.’ The programme, which began in 2004, has reduced the number of people getting the disease. In 2004, nearly 1,500 children were admitted to hospital suffering from malaria – a 23 per cent drop on the previous year. A further drop is expected for 2005 as the number of nets distributed has increased.

Dry season health issues:
In the dry season, people in this region of Tanzania often suffer from pneumonia and other airborne diseases, such as meningitis. In previous years this has reached epidemic levels and the hospital has found it difficult to cope. This year, however, apart from a few isolated cases in children, there are no reported cases of the illnesses.

Threat of TB:
Chronic diseases like tuberculosis (TB) continue to be one of the biggest threats to Tanzania, mainly because of the ever-worsening HIV/AIDS pandemic in the country. TB in Tanzania has been steadily rising, from 11,753 cases in 1983 to over 61,000 in 2001, according to official statistics. This is a disease where no age is safe – but the majority of cases are from people aged from 15 to 45 years. Official statistics for 2004 have not been released yet, but St Anne’s has seen an 80 per cent increase since 2002 in cases of TB alone.

Epilepsy increase:
The clinic for dispensing drugs for epilepsy is held once a month. New cases are identified and patients are given counselling. Recently, there has been an increase in the number of people diagnosed with the condition. St Anne’s currently treats 110 adults and children – a 40 per cent increase this year. The hospital believes the increase is not necessarily a rise in the number of people with the condition, rather the presence of a new, more effective drug which sufferers are keen to obtain. The new drug reduces the frequency of fits and helps patients to lead a normal life.

HIV/AIDS pandemic:
In response to the rapid rise in cases of AIDS-related illnesses, St Anne’s has stepped up its programme for teaching AIDS prevention, including a voluntary testing and counselling service, health education for staff and training for community volunteers.

St Anne’s Hospital is vital for the people of Liuli. It serves a remote rural population of 100,000. In the past 12 months, Liuli has been thrust into the modern communication age. First, in February 2005, a new road linking the hospital to surrounding villages was finished. This was followed by the installation of a new mobile phone mast serving Liuli for the first time. The hospital now has a mobile phone which is working 24-hours a day, unlike the landline which is often out of service.

The traditional method of communication – where people travelled for days to relay information and to transport patients to hospital – is quickly being replaced by mobile phone calls and a new bus service between Liuli and Songea. Dr Charles Peter Hinju, from St Anne’s Hospital, said: ‘This technology brings us closer to the world all the time. The changes have enabled us to respond relatively quickly to accidents and emergencies in this area – something we could never achieve before.’ This sudden change in status has led to a large increase in staff workload. Dr Hinju continued: ‘We now have about 62 patients arriving by bus every day. We recently enrolled newly-qualified nurses into the hospital, but we are still understaffed. In light of the changes, St Anne’s is applying to the government for more hospital staff.

In February this year, Maluta, a 28-year-old woman from Lipingo, 7 km south of Liuli, was admitted to St Anne’s. This mother of three had gradually lost all feeling in her lower back and legs to the point where she could no longer walk. Relatives brought her to the hospital after local doctors and medicine had failed to have any effect.

Dr Hinju said: ‘I saw Maluta in the ward. She looked anxious and hopeless. I met with her and she explained the symptoms to me.’ Dr Hinju took an X-ray and carried out some blood tests, which showed that Maluta was suffering from a form of TB which causes degeneration of the spinal cord. He immediately put Maluta on anti-TB drugs. After two weeks, a breakthrough came when, for the first time in over a month, Maluta lifted her right leg. By the sixth week of treatment, Maluta was able to stand and walk short distances. On discovering she could walk again, Maluta said: ‘I can’t believe that I’m cured now – but I believe it since I managed to walk alone. Thank you and God bless you for caring for me.’ Maluta has now received physiotherapy and has been discharged from the hospital. Dr Hinju said: ‘These words from Maluta encourage us in our daily service.’

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Registered charity no. 234518

USPG Projects
157 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8XA
Tel: 020 7803 3441 Fax: 020 7928 2371
e-mail: projects@uspg.org.uk
www.uspg.org.uk

USPG enables marginalised people to grow spiritually, to thrive physically and to have a voice in an unjust world. As an Anglican mission agency, we do this in partnership with churches around the world, providing the resources – people, money and ideas – that they define as necessary to meet local needs.

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