Our medical clinic in Arusha, Tanzania is a very well equipped facility with modern equipment including a full lab, X-ray, and ultrasound. We are a model for contemporary medical practice in East Africa. However, even with all of our ability we still regularly deal with situations in which we have to rely on the considerable skill and improvisational ability of Dr. Byemba and his staff. We recently saw a young man who had suffered a head injury eight years ago. The skull grew back improperly, giving him constant headaches and the embarrassment of having a misshapen head. He first came to our New Hope Initiative clinic several months ago desperately seeking help. Dr. Byemba recognized that this was outside the realm of our ability and encouraged the young man to go to the capital of Tanzania to seek a specialist. After spending all of his meager funds in the capital, he was unable to find anyone in the entire country who would help him.
In utter despair he returned to Arusha and begged for Dr. Byemba’s help. Knowing that his tools were inadequate, but possessing a heart of compassion and a confidence in his own skill, Dr. Byemba agreed to perform this complicated procedure. After purchasing a hammer and chisel from a local hardware store, the doctor skillfully and boldly reshaped the young man’s skull in a very complex procedure. Obviously Dr. Byemba prefers to use the most modern tools available, but wherever we lack the latest tools, we more than make up for it with skill, ingenuity, and heart. I am happy to report the young man is doing well. His headaches are greatly diminished and his head is cosmetically improved.
We ask our friends and partners to help us to equip the clinic with the very best tools available to us. It is our prayer that we will find the need to improvise less and less in the future. We currently have four pressing areas where further modernization is needed:
- A blood analyzer for hormones and biochemistry .
- A cast cutter to remove the large number of casts we have started doing due to our new X-ray.
- A portable digital X-ray unit for greater imaging flexibility.
- A generator capable of running the entire clinic due to the frequent electric outages in Tanzania.
It is this ongoing partnership between our local clinic staff and our western partners that makes the Olorien Community Clinic such a success.