Working toward our ultimate goal of a fully operational floating clinic, the LTFHC has already served hundreds of thousands of Congolese and Tanzanians by completing a number of outreach programs, focused on the most urgent local challenges.
We have conducted large-scale mosquito bed-net distributions, integrated malaria prevention education programs and cholera treatment, as well as spearheaded a comprehensive VVF repair outreach in Tanzania’s remote southern region of Rukwa. We are currently expanding essential communications infrastructure and introducing the region’s first electronic medical record and developing a safe cesarean section training program.
In the process, we have succeeded in establishing strong, trustworthy relationships with the lakeside communities, as well as key stakeholders in the region – from tribal chiefs to multinational executives and ministers of state.
Family Planning Outreach- Phase 1
Tanzania – 2015-2016
In the Lake Tanganyika Basin, reproductive health care is nearly non-existent. Contraceptive and prenatal care is inaccessible, childbearing often begins in teen years, and extreme poverty is the norm. The LTFHC/WAVE is committed to addressing high birthrate in the region through accessible contraception, not only as a means of empowering local women but also to save lives and prevent disease.
In May 2015, the LTFHC/WAVE completed phase 1 of a comprehensive family planning project, funded by Hivos International, in Rukwa, Tanzania. During this outreach, the LTFHC provided information on family planning during one-on-one counseling and at a community festival (produced by LTFHC and our partner Femina HIP), trained 12 rural health care workers in family planning topics and insertion of implants and IUDs, and distributed free implantable contraceptives.
The combined activities of this outreach impacted over 90,000 people. We look forward to expanding this program to other regions in Tanzania next year.
Radio Network Expansion
Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania – 2012-2015
Over the past two years, the LTFHC has created an innovative hardware and software solution, in collaboration with iilab, that bridges the massive communications gap that exists across most of the Lake Tanganyika Basin.
Our system enables voice and data communication between remote health centers and provides a solution for gathering epidemiologic data among the three million people living around the lake. This represents a critical milestone in the development of the region’s healthcare infrastructure, including its first electronic medical records.
Already deployed in an area covering 158,000 people, the LTFHC will expand its radio network to support over a million people in the DRC and Tanzania over the next two years.
DRC Radio Network Expansion and Electronic Medical Record Pilot
Kalemie and Nyemba, DRC – Fall 2014
In 2014, the LTFHC, in partnership with iilab, expanded its data-transfer technology and Electronic Medical Records (EMR) platform in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
This involved initially installing High Frequency (HF) radios and EMR hardware in seven new locations in Kalemie and Nyemba Health Zones: at the two zonal head offices at Kalemie General Hospital and five ultra-rural health centers. We will then extend the network further by installing HF voice only radio units in three additional locations, for a total of ten new sites added to the network. The regional hospital serves some 460,000 people while the eight rural health centers reach almost 60,000 more.
We have already witnessed the dramatic impact our HF voice only network (piloted March 2012) has had on required reporting to the Ministry of Health in Moba. Now we anticipate seeing those same benefits extended to Kalemie and Nyemba, with the EMR system enabling improved epidemiologic data collection as well as better treatments, preventative practices and healthcare outcomes.
Kirando Health Center Facilities Upgrade
Kirando, Tanzania – July/August 2014
Kirando is a large health center in Nkasi District, Tanzania, located along Lake Tanganyika, serving 250,000 residents. Despite having recent renovations to their operating theater, Kirando was still unable to perform surgical procedures consistently as it had no reliable electricity, no oxygen concentrators, and no fully equipped, manually adjustable operating tables.
The LTFHC prioritized this location because the population it serves suffers from a high maternal mortality rate and it is one of the few health centers in the area that provides comprehensive emergency obstetrical care. In addition, our organization has completed previous projects at Kirando and thus has a good working relationship with its health care workers. The LTFHC frequently communicated with local staff leading up to and during the project to ensure upgrades and interventions effectively met their needs.
Tanzania Radio Network Expansion and Electronic Medical Record Pilot
Nkasi District, Tanzania – October/November 2013
In October 2013, the LTFHC beta tested its innovative HF radio hardware and software system, developed in partnership with iilab, in Nkasi District of Tanzania’s southern coastline. This pilot enabled us to validate our newly-developed data transfer technology, commissioned by the LTFHC to meet the specific communication and reporting needs of Ministries of Health in this remote region. HF radio and EMR systems were installed at four strategic health centers and clinics along 130km of shoreline, as well as the District Health Offices in the town of Namanyere. Altogether, this project brings new healthcare possibilities to almost 80,000 people.
Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2013-
Tanzania expansion: TBD
In early 2013, the LTFHC began conducting research in the DRC under “Project Fabio,” named for an Italian doctor interested in naturopathy and ethnobotany and in whose name funds were donated. Through this research initiative, we have created a database cataloging hundreds of indigenous plants used by traditional healers, as well as mapped the sources of these commonly-used botanical medicines and the ways they are prepared.
Crucially, Project Fabio has allowed the LTFHC to build relationships with trusted traditional healers in the community. Project Fabio will be immensely useful in providing baseline data for future evaluation of the significance and magnitude of traditional healers’ contributions to the public healthcare system in the DRC. This project also intends to assess the acceptability and feasibility of the introduction of botanical gardens as a way of conserving the biodiversity of the Lake Tanganyika Basin.
DRC High Frequency Radio Pilot
Moba, DRC – March 2012
As part of a pilot program funded by HP, the LTFHC installed High Frequency (HF) Long Wave Radios at eight health centers in Moba Territory, DRC, serving a population of 80,000. These radios are the only practical and affordable way to overcome the communications gap in the region, enabling Moba’s health centers to connect with each other and the Moba Regional Hospital.
This new communication brings faster life-saving medical services to women in complicated labor, increased disease reporting rates by 60%, and supported the outreach and monitoring of the DRC’s Ministry of Health 2012 polio vaccination campaign.
Women’s Reproductive Health Outreach
Rukwa, Tanzania and Moba, DRC – October 2011
Supported by HP, the Fistula Foundation and private donors, the LTFHC provided fistula repair along Lake Tanganyika in the remote region of Rukwa, Tanzania in 2011. This outreach was the first of its kind in the basin, bringing dozens of Congolese and Tanzanian fistula patients and several healthcare providers together for surgical repair, education seminars and counseling.
To carry out this work, the LTFHC upgraded the Kirando Health Center that serves some 250,000 people living in Nkasi District in Tanzania and donated equipment and supplies to the Sumbawanga Regional Hospital in Tanzania and the Moba Regional Hospital in DRC.
All this was in line with LTFHC’s commitment to improve local infrastructure.
Katanga Kicks Malaria
Moba, DRC – 2010
Harnessing the excitement and energy that surrounded the FIFA World Cup 2010, the LTFHC created and implemented Katanga Kicks Malaria (KKM), a unique, innovative, and multi-phase anti–malaria educational outreach program tailored specifically for the Great Lakes Region of Katanga Province.
The program’s curriculum, co-designed by Grassroot Soccer in close collaboration with the LTFHC, engaged professional Congolese football players and community role models to educate and engage youth and community leaders in a football–based malaria education project in rural communities along Lake Tanganyika. Twenty-five local community role models and four professional Congolese football players were trained as KKM coaches to educate adults and young people in their communities, distributing some 15,000 Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets.
Read the full report here.