After several years of construction time and some final assistance from Project Kesho, the Lundamatwe Health Clinic opened for business in the summer of 2007. The clinic is staffed and supplied by the Kilolo District Clinic, which is in turn supplied by the national government. From its opening until the fall of 2008 the clinic was staffed with a doctor, a nurse, and a limited amount of medical supplies. However, for several reasons the clinic has been under-utilized. The clinic was not adequately re-supplied on a regular basis, the cost of visiting the clinic, regardless of the treatment needed, costs about $1, more than most people in the village live on in a day. Also, many people, especially those in the more remote parts of the village, did not understand all that the clinic was capable of providing.
Despite these and other obstacles, conditions have improved at the clinic. A new doctor has been at work since January 2009 and he takes his job quite seriously and is at the clinic most of the day seeing patients. The number of patients per day is the highest it has been in the past two years, and the doctor is using the delivery room on a regular basis. This is great news! Maternal mortality is a considerable problem in Tanzania: Tanzania is sixth worse in the world, with 1500 mothers dying for every 100,000 births (in the US 11 mothers die for every 100,000 births). In addition, the refrigerator that was damaged last fall has been replaced. The District also sends a vehicle once a month that takes the doctor to the remote parts of the Lundamatwe village and to villages beyond Lundamatwe to vaccinate children and treat people. Project Kesho has worked closely with the clinic since its inception, and we will continue to work closely with clinic staff and local leaders.