The Phil Simon Clinic's Tanzania Project continues to move forward while giving back during tenth trip to Africa

February 17, 2016

team tanzinia group photo

Led by Kimberly Shriner, MD, 28 people departed for The Phil Simon Clinic's Tanzania Project’s 10th trip to Africa this past Saturday! More than 100 of our employees and physicians have made the trip, providing basic health care, medication, HIV and anti-retroviral education, as well as manpower and support to the impoverished region. To learn more about The Phil Simon Clinic and to follow their journey, visit: https://www.facebook.com/The-Phil-Simon-Clinic-Tanzania-Project-141265522590724/ and read the article below.

The Phil Simon Clinic's Tanzania Project continues to move forward while giving back during tenth trip to Africa

Kimberly A. Shriner, MD, founder and director of the Huntington Hospital-based non-profit The Phil Simon Clinic, a multidisciplinary facility that provides comprehensive medical and psychosocial care for persons infected with HIV, always knew she wanted to go to Africa. Though she was not sure when, how or why her travels would take her there.

But as an old Tanzanian proverb says, “A wise person will always find a way.”

Enter The Phil Simon Clinic Tanzania Project. Its goal: For Shriner and her team of volunteers to work in conjunction with several government and private health care facilities in Arusha, Tanzania to provide clinical care, education, psychosocial support and infrastructure assistance to those agencies involved in HIV/AIDS, internal medicine and orthopedic and reconstructive surgery.

Since its first trip in 2002, the project and team members have grown exponentially. To date, more than 120 medical professionals and volunteers have given their time and talents to the people of Tanzania.

During their most recent trip in 2014, the team helped more than 1000 patients, performed 42 surgeries, conducted home visits and large animal veterinarian actives, all in addition to educating and training the healthcare community. 2014 also marked the first trip with a pediatrician. Well respected Mark Powell, MD was moved by the fact that he was the first pediatrician to see many of our children.

This year’s Team Tanzania is comprised of a 28 talented professionals, many who work at Huntington Hospital. The volunteers, who generously donate their time, energy, money and resources to participate, include medical personnel, social workers, microbiologists, kinesiologists, pharmacists and more. This year also marks the first time a dermatologist is on the team as well as two small animal veterinarians.

The Phil Simon Clinic Tanzania Project has long been committed to healthcare education and graduate medical education. Internal medicine and surgical residents have been participating in trips to Africa for many years.

The Resident Physicians trips are sponsored by Huntington Hospitalas The Phil Simon Clinic outpatient center is a leading teaching venue for internal medicine residents. The hospital also contributes to the Tanzania Project by buying meds that are given free to the patients in Africa.

Upon arrival in Africa next week, the team will continue their involvement at local hospitals and clinics by assisting with clinical care, ward rounds and hours of teaching and shared experiences.

Team members also participate in a robust Home Based Care Project, working closely with local organization, Africans By Africans, where they visit homes of the underserved population. Point of care services will also be provided with ultrasound, pharmacy and other technical support while Epidemiologic, cultural and global outreach projects will continue as well.

“This year we will aggressively continue the process of transitioning from doers to teachers,” said Shriner who shared news that plans for construction will begin in Africa on the Kisongo Clinic, a medical institution that the Tanzania Project and its generous donors and supporters are funding. “We want to show the local medical staff how to help, diagnose and treat people on their own with what limited means that they have there. Ours is a very collaborative project where the sharing of experiences back and forth enriches all of our lives.”

Supervising the new clinic will be Ezekiel Moirana, MD, an extraordinary man with an extraordinary story. A native of Kisongo, Ezekiel was first introduced to Shriner and the Tanzania Project during the team’s third trip to Africa when he was working as a Clinical Officer (aka physician’s assistant). Upon the team’s return two years later, Ezekiel expressed his desire to become a doctor.

Viewing this as a long-term investment for the future, the Tanzania Project, along with an incredibly generous donation made by Martha White and her family in honor of their late son Judah, put Ezekiel through medical school and residency in Tanzania. Also a resident at Huntington Hospitalat the time of his death, Judah’s legacy is now carried on by Dr. Moirana.

“Humanity is really the same no matter where you are,” continued Shriner. “Now we want to find another Ezekiel and a woman to put through medical or nursing school.”

To quote another Tanzanian proverb, “Little by little, a little becomes a lot.” A $100 donation to the Tanzania Project can pay for months’ worth of medication. Donations are tax-deductible and go directly to the Tanzania Project.

People are encouraged to follow Team Tanzania’s 2016 trip, project and adventures at http://philsimonclinic.org/index.html and The Phil Simon Clinic Tanzania Project Facebook page.

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