We provide Christian support for development projects where we see the need. In recent years we have focuses on Medical, Education, Agriculture and Water projects. All donations go directly to the projects and our representatives on the ground work hand in hand to ensure accountability and project success!
Arusha Medical Centre
2014 - Present
The Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the ALMC medical centre is dedicated to providing care for critically ill premature and term babies. Free and subsidised care is provided to babies in the NICU. At present, the facility provides the highest level of care available for critically-ill babies in Tanzania and is among the most advanced NICUs in East Africa. In 2017 the facility had their smallest survivor ever, baby Gracious, weighing only 670 grams (1 pound – 7 ounces) on arrival. This beautiful little girl was born 14 weeks premature, and along with her twin brother was discharged home after 2 months in the NICU. Both are doing very well!
Future growth in the NICU depends on continued donations to support the costs of caring for these critically-ill neonates. It is worth noting that the annual NICU budget (caring for 250+ hospitalized neonates) remains less than the cost of a single newborn being hospitalized in a NICU in the United States for 2 weeks!
Since late March, coronavirus has entered Arusha. Over the past 6 weeks, we have been busy making face masks for Arusha-area hospitals, partnering with local tailors and workshops to produce over thousands of cloth face masks at $1.50/each. N95s and protective gowns are largely non-existent in every hospital. Glove costs are rapidly outpacing the hospital’s ability to purchase. We are making washable PPE gowns, foot covers, plastic face shields to provide at no-cost to faith-based hospitals. Soon we will be providing them to Lutheran Hospitals across Tanzania. We have located a local brewery that was making 80% ethanol-based sanitizer and have obtained it for all hospital staff. We’ve reduced our hospital visitors, screened patients outside, and adopted a face mask requirement for all healthcare workers (HCWs). Our pediatric and NICU team led the way, being the first to adopt a face mask requirement— all the masks were provided by NICU Fund (www.tanzanianchildren.com). All spare moments, when not seeing patients, are engaged in raising funds and getting PPE to hospitals.
The extent of COVID-19s impact in Tanzania is unknown. PPE needs are great. Testing and reporting follows different guidelines than we are accustomed to in the United States. All laboratory testing is exclusively conducted through the National Reference Laboratory in Dar es Salaam. The Ministry of Health is responsible for all reporting and hospitals and individual HCWs may not discuss in a public forum their experiences, to avoid public panic. Among many Tanzanians, the use of local boiled plants (mango and guava leaves, etc) is believed to prevent or treat COVID-19. The president dispatched a plane to Madagascar to obtain a herbal tonic solution from the artemisia plant, which has been touted as a [dubious] cure for coronavirus. Local social media is afire with claims of lemon, ginger, aspirin, and various plants all touted as cures for coronavirus.
In this time, core measures around widespread mass testing, accessible information, and scientifically-validated treatment regimens are not always embraced by public figures. I do not always understand why. Over the past weeks, reports of nighttime burials and increasing numbers of unexplained community deaths exist. Most Tanzanians are largely afraid to get tested, to avoid the label of "COVID infection". Testing is also difficult to obtain. Many hospitals are in a difficult place, and care for suspected COVID patients is difficult because of a lack of finances, supplies, and fears on the part of both patient and HCWs. And here we are. The situation is full of unknowns, flights out of the country are mostly nonexistent.
In the midst of all of this, I deeply admire the fortitude and bravery of our Tanzanian doctors and nurses. They still go to work every day and care for patients. The NICU babies continue to arrive, unaware of the pandemic that the world is staring down. It is for these doctors, nurses and children and babies that we stay—they are our family. And I have stepped into the rain without an umbrella, so that I can be with them… perhaps more afraid than I have ever been, and more in love than I could imagine.
With all our love,
Jodi and Steve
316 Babies, a remarkable Survival Rate, and the writing of an essential NICU Handbook.
Last year our NICU cared for 316 babies. 45% were premature, some weighing less than 2 pounds (<1000 grams). 85 babies (30%) from our poorest families were fully supported by our NICU Fund, and all remaining NICU babies received partial subsidization.
Among viable babies admitted to our NICU, 93% survived. This has to be among the highest NICU survival rates reported anywhere in East Africa, and is a great tribute to the hard work of our entire team. At present, we are in the midst of writing the first-ever neonatology handbook (300+ pages!) for use across all of Tanzania, and hope to publish it soon.
Though COVID-19 is occupying all of our hearts, our NICU remains full every day with vulnerable babies and attentive mothers. We are taking precautions. And we continue to need funds to help us care for these most vulnerable babies, especially in this time when the hospital faces financial uncertainty. Please take a moment to watch our newest 3-minute video, "Every Baby Counts. No Matter How Small.", and consider giving.
News from the Jacobsons
Tanzania hasn’t issued a summary of their Covid 19 cases for almost two months. Two weeks ago, the President announced that God has cured Covid in Tanzania and we are free to return to normal. The borders have been opened and schools are open again.
Yet in the background, the hospitals are caring daily for Covid patients and neighbors know who is sick at home and who has died at home. But without statistics, no one is able to get a handle on what is really happening with the pandemic in Tanzania.
Covid seems not to have had as horrific an impact on morbidity and mortality as anticipated. Perhaps because of the young average age of the population with 50% of the population being age 15 or below.
Whatever understanding is eventually learned about Covid in Tanzania, it is already abundantly clear that the greater impact of Covid has been upon the economy. The tourist industry has collapsed and brought about great unemployment. The lost revenues in many industries are bound to lead to struggles with famine, less access to health care, and difficulty for students to remain in schools.
USAID has predicted that the after effects of Covid may do away with decades of development across the African continent. Our challenge is no longer an epidemic but rather a doubling down for development.
New School of Nursing Campus Opens
School Closures for Covid provided an opportunity for the SON to complete preparations for the move into our new campus at Ekenywa. We celebrated and welcomed the students into our new and renovated facility on June 1st. This long time dream has become a reality thanks to so many of you who have been absolutely incredibly generous and supportive.
Familia Moja Clinic
2018 - Present
Life at the Medical Clinic in Tabora is hectic on a day to day basis. Not only do they have patients from the district but many are contacted through the Traveling Clinic which covers four villages many miles from Tabora. Dr. Ruth Hulser writes “Thank you for your generous donation to the Clinic. We are using the money to help children with Pneumonia survival."
2018 - Present
Familia Moja Farm is expanding all the time with pigs, rabbits, donkeys, cows and chickens. Amara Aid provided the ﬁnance to buy 380 hens that produce 2,100 eggs per week and meat for Aids victim families who have been left without a provider.
2016 - Present
Amara Aid has supported Familia Moja to construct underground water storage facilities that drinking water to be stored for up to six months in Tabora, Tanzania where rainfall is unreliable. 18 dams have been constructed to hold rainwater during the dry-season and allow breeding of fish.
2014 - Present
Amara Aid supported the construction of a polytunnel at the Arusha Modern School. Students have formed a business club called “Malihai Club” that produces vegetables for sale to the school and the local community. The produce has saved the school over $2,000 over the past 2 years. Arusha Modern School's cateen is supplied by this project.
Arusha Modern School
2013 - Present
The 4 young people at Arusha Modern School are doing their A levels this month. Sadly the school has now closed down so Amara will have to make a decision regarding the future of these young people that we support.
Careen is doing her finals in Law this month and hoping to succeed in her quest to become a human rights lawyer. She asks for our prayers.
The young people living in Dar-es-Salaam are confined at home because of covet 19. It is a sad time especially for Queen who had successfully achieved her air hostess grades.
There are no jobs within Tanzanian airways at present again because of the collapse of the tourist trade. It is hard times for everyone. Sabra is thankfully still employed in the laboratory of the local hospital and is helping with the household bill.
Amara Aid is able to contribute towards their rent, food and personal needs. God has been good in supplying sufficient funds through the shop and faithful friends to help us.
Africian Primary & Secondary School
2016 - Present
Amara Aid sponsors four teenagers who are currently about to finish their education in November '19.
Canaan Primary School
2017 - Present
Amara Aid sponsors two young children who are day students. Kennedy & Rose.