Our Society has been active in Tanzania with missionary, educational and social initiatives since 1955. Over 30 years ago the work with local vocations and initial formation was undertaken and now there are over 100 Tanzanian professed Salvatorians who work in parishes, schools and health centers.
And, Salvatorians are in Namiungo since 1976; therefore they know the people, the culture and the other local actors.
Our Tanzania Mission Pro-Province is quite unique in that it counts a large numberof religious brothers. And some of them have specialized in a vocation, which is more common among the Salvatorian Sisters, namely nursing and caring for the sick: they are skilled nurses or clinicians. They run dispensaries at JUCO (in Morogoro) and in the mission compound of Mkuranga. Since 1998, our brothers have been successfully running St. Joseph Dispensary as nurses and clinicians at Namiungo in the southern part of Tanzania, officially serving six villages but in practice also including other distant villages. People come to the dispensary from villages far outside its designated geographic area. The population served is around 15,000 excluding the additional villages. The work of the dispensary is highly regarded by the population as well as by the local health authorities.
The Tanzanian leadership decided to upgrade this apostolate in favor of the poorestpopulation in a deprived region of Tanzania. Within 2 years the following was realized with the assistance of SOFIA (2013‑2015):
- Construction of a Mother-and-Child Hospital;
- Purchase of medical equipment, supplies and medicines for the maternity unit;
- Purchase of means of transportation for patients and the community health workers;
- Purchase of laboratory equipment;
- Organization of Education: training sessions and awareness camps on hygiene, basic health and mother-and-child care, with a focus on nutrition and vaccination;
- Nutritional program implemented in the villages of the designated zone.
The ultimate goal is the creation of a full-fledged Health Centre, one level up from a Dispensary on its way to a well-equipped and functioning Hospital. Before we embark on constructing an Operation Theatre, we want to better equip and boost the existing Dispensary, the Mother and Child Clinic and the services offered. To that end SOFIA continued fundraising for this apostolate and obtained grants in the past year for:
- hygiene: construction of additional outside toilets;
- construction of a storage building for medicines;
- capacity building activity: consultancy by personnel from Mnero hospital;
- electricity: acquisition of solar-powered refrigerators;
- water: drilling of a borehole.
It cannot be estimated enough what difference electricity for refrigerators means for the sick. Or what it means for the nurses to not have to walk 4 km several times a day to get water from the local river, carrying 20‑liter buckets on their heads.
In the Gospel according to St. Matthew salvation is linked among other actions to corporal works of mercy. As such, our brother-nurses/ clinicians are essentially fulfilling the Lord's mandate, to care for the least among us, far away in the deprived southern regions of Tanzania. They speak louder than the loudest homilist. SOFIA is happy to support this apostolate with its know‑how on fundraising and project development and will continue to do so.