Implementation of Ospedale Bambino Gesù High Profile Pediatric Department in a Rural Area of Tanzania

Project location: TANZANIA, Itigi
Project start date: April 2013 - Project end date: May 2014
Project number: 2013-063
Beneficiary: Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù (OPBG)


The village of Itigi is located in the Singida region, Manyoni district, in the West part of Tanzania. The local population is around 20,000 people. Itigi is located in a rural area and surrounded by small rural villages that live mainly out of farming. The Saint Gaspar Hospital is located in the centre of the Itigi village and it is its core. The hospital is a source of occupation for the people of Itigi and it is the main reason of the development of the whole area.
The Hospital has been created and is managed by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, a Society of Apostolic life founded by Saint Gaspar del Bufalo. It is nowadays a Referral Hospital recognized by the Ministry of Health of Tanzania and considered one of the best of the country. The Hospital offers quality health services to the population and health related services, like counseling to fight child malnutrition. More than this, through a mobile clinic service, the hospital has been able to vaccine the children of the area, contributing to diminish the level of child mortality.

The Pediatric Hospital Bambino Gesu' (OPBG) is a specialized pediatric hospital in Italy, property of the Holy See. OPBG is also running humanitarian and charitable projects in different developing countries, one of them being Tanzania. Here OPBG is working in partnership with the Fathers of the Precious Blood to offer high level pediatric services at the Pediatric Department, located within the S. Gaspar Hospital.
In the past years OPBG has sent its specialized medical staff to St. Gaspar to work within the pediatric. Currently OPBG is taking care of the renewal works of the pediatric department and the surgical room, with the aim to transform the present department in a High Profile Pediatric Clinical and Surgical Centre, whom centre will be the new technological surgical room with prime quality instruments. Last year around 15 children have been sent to Italy to undergo surgical operations not available in Tanzania. The new surgical room within the St. Gaspar Hospital has been built to provide more children with the possibility to be operated in their own country and live longer healthier lives. From September 2013 the newly renovated pediatric department will become the ‘Bambino Gesu' Pediatric Clinical and Surgical Centre' and will be run by OPBG following its high level standards as applied in Italy and all over the world where OPBG is present. Doctors specialized in plastic surgery, cardio-surgery, urologic surgery, pediatrics, pediatric dentistry, ENT, etc. will come from Italy to Itigi in mission-groups rotating all long the year to take care of the children and participate in the mobile clinics' project.

OPBG is currently trying to tackle two locally identified needs. The first problem is related to staff mobility. Our local and medical staff is highly in need of a vehicle, suitable for the dirty roads of the area, to move on the territory, reach the most rural areas to visit patients, travel to the main cities to purchase material and goods of different kind. Particularly, the St. Gaspar Hospital is running mobile clinics once a week to reach 3 far away villages and their populations. At the moment the staff is formed solely by 4 nurses that visits pregnant women and children and provide vaccines, medicines, HIV testing and health related training. The Hospital has only one car to use once a week to bring the nurses and the needed equipment and medicines in the rural villages. Also, there is a shortage of doctors, so only nurses are available to go with the mobile clinics. The nurses are 4 and usually visits around 150 to 200 children (0 to 5 years old only) and 50 pregnant women a day. The women come from everywhere, some walk for many kilometers with their child tied on their back, to reach the village in time to be visited by the nurses or have their child vaccinated. Thanks to a new vehicle, able to reach the far away rural areas, OPBG would like to visit more villages, carry more equipment and medicines, and, more importantly, transport its pediatric doctors and pediatric surgeons in the most rural areas to offer an improved service to the population and screen the children of each age to detect possible disease and surgical needs to be taken care at the hospital.
The second need relates to the newly renovated pediatric surgical room. OPBG has taken in charge the pediatric department of St. Gaspar Hospital and has renovated it. The Pediatric currently care for around 150 children a day, divided between in and out patients departments. Particularly, the surgical room will be completed by the end of August and it has been refurbished with the best instruments and equipment, in order to follow the high standards of OPBG in Italy. The room is missing a medical air and oxygen system, that is a system of isolated tubes to bring in each room of the surgical department oxygen, compressed air and air in aspiration. Medical airs are fundamental for a positive and safe outcome of surgical operations. OPBG would like to complete the system with a medical air machine (a machine that produces air in aspiration and compressed air). The oxygen will be brought inside the rooms through oxygen tanks. Considering the numbers of the hospital (around 150 operations a month of children 0 to 18 years old) this intervention for the surgical rooms is considered very much needed and urgent.

The Nando Peretti Fondation awarded a grant for this project.
Based on current statistics, the surgical room will see around 150 patients, 0 to 18 years old, operated each month.

The vehicle will be used for the mobile clinic once a week. Each week around 150 children and 50 pregnant women from rural areas are taken in charge by the medical staff of S. Gaspar hospital's mobile clinic, offering counselling, vaccines, HIV testing, health related training, medical care for at risk pregnancies and sick children. The new vehicle will serve to visit more villages, carry more material and medicines, and improve the medical services offered to the population by transporting also OPBG's doctors to rural areas.
The vehicle will be also used by local staff and medical staff to move on the territory and easily purchase material, instruments and goods needed for their work.


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