The Gift of Health (Tanzania Article from October 2021 Newsletter)

By Kirsten Levorson

The Lutheran church in Tungamalenga has been supporting healthcare in the community since 1982 with the establishment of a first aid center staffed by a nurse in the parish office. In 1985 a dispensary building was constructed and overnight outpatient services could be provided. There were four available beds when we first visited in 2002.

That same year, Dr. Barnabas Kahwage was assigned to lead the clinic. His experience first as a Pastor and then as a Clinical Officer brought both medical skill and an ethic of compassionate care to the clinic. Annual gifts from SOTV provided necessary medical supplies and a reliable stock of medicines in the pharmacy.

In 2006 – 2007, a new ward was constructed (adding to the capacity of the clinic to serve the growing community). A new labor and delivery room saw regular use, as there are on average 10 babies born each week. The new facilities enabled the clinic to establish a partnership with the government to provide a variety of free services for child and reproductive health, while the government provides salary support for the clinic staff.

The Next Step: A Laboratory Building

The population in and around Tungamalenga is growing and the Tanzanian government has classified it as a small city. With that designation comes the need for a small hospital. The Tungamalenga Lutheran Dispensary is the best equipped medical facility in the area to expand to fill this need. According to Tanzanian government specifications, a laboratory building is the next step in the planned expansion.

Dr. Randy Hurley, an SOTV member with 20 years experience developing the Ilula Health Center into a hospital, comments, “A laboratory facility is crucial for accurate diagnosis of disease. This would allow rapid diagnosis and more expert management of malaria and HIV. It would provide the capability to assess anemia in pregnancy and the opportunity to better manage diabetes. Laboratory capability would lead to more accurate diagnosis of infectious diarrheal diseases.”

How Can You Help?

As a thank offering for twenty years of blessings through this partnership, we invite you to contribute to the expansion of the dispensary and the construction of the laboratory. To give, write checks payable to SOTV with “TZ Lab” in the memo. To give online (, select the “20yr TZ Anniversary” fund.

Check out a history of Tanzania bulletin board found next to the nursery (around the corner from the Community Room). Need direction? Ask the Welcome Center volunteer!