OUR CURRENT SCHOLARS (January, 2023)
On 3/23/1995, our project’s namesake, Phil Simon, passed away. The infectious disease clinic at Huntington Hospital was renamed in his honor in 1996, and the Phil Simon Clinic Tanzania Project was formed shortly thereafter, in 2002. Today, twenty-eight years later, we continue to honor Phil Simon's legacy of friendship, education, and community by sharing the news that our second scholar, Rebeka, is now Doctor Rebeka Gurti.
Dr. Gurti graduated from King Ceasor University School of Medicine in Kampala, Uganda and will be returning to Tanzania to continue her post-graduate medical training.
Dr. Gurti’s dream is to complete an internship and residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology (ObGyn) so that she can improve maternal and infant health in Tanzania. Another passion of hers is increasing access to family planning, particularly in rural villages. In the meantime, Rebeka continues to oversee the operation of Nazareti Clinic out of her home in Manyara, Tanzania, with the assistance of her husband, Amani. She is looking forward to starting a program there for reproductive and child health.
From Dr. Gurti:
Thank you Phil Simon Tanzania team. My achievement is our achievement all. I am proud of you all The Phil Simon Tanzania team. Your job here in Tanzania is of remarkable print in health sector since you start with Dr Ezekiel up to now. The fruits are increasing and impact of this vision come true each day. Day by day , the journey of thousand mile start by one step. Dr Shriner our Chair congratulation in a special way. Your heart ,courage and confidence is real Life and trust. You stand firm even at difficult time. During Covid 19 you continue making sure the Phil Simon Tanzania clinic team is strong and stronger. All members and sponsors of Phil Simon Tanzania Clinic team congratulation you have always been positive and supportive. I am very happy that today I have graduating. Your support in my education has make this day happening. Once again thank you so much. I am looking forward as part of team for better tomorrow of our community.
From Dr. Ezekiel Moirana, the PSCTP's first scholar, to his colleague, Dr. Rebeka Gurti:
"Dear Dr Rebecca Welcome to the World of saving Patients. Congratulation my Sister. You deserve it. My eyes are tearing with this. I am sure you will be the Doctor in your Carrier. May God Bless you.
To you Dr Kim and the team of Phil Simon Clinic Tanzania Project, we say in Swahili "Hongereni sana kwa Msaada Mlioutoa kwetu Sisi Watanzani" I think some should Translate this to you all. "
Translation: "Congratulations for the help you gave to us Tanzanians"
Saum is in her final year of nursing school at Decca College in Dodoma and will be graduating in September 2023 with a diploma in nursing and midwifery. Though originally from the area of Manyara, she plans to remain in the Dodoma (central Tanzania) area to work as a nurse following her graduation. Her long term goal is to obtain a degree in nursing and midwifery. She has attended nursing school full-time while raising her now 2-year old son.
This past year, Saum spent an entire clinical rotation traveling to some of the smaller rural communities outside of Dodoma, learning about the intricacies and challenges of providing community health care, as well as the basics of labor, delivery and neonatal care. This term, her studies will be devoted to a wide variety of obstetrical issues, including complicated pregnancies, obstetrical emergencies, postpartum care, and newborns with abdominal conditions. She will also study the basics of epidemiology and biostatistics, supervision in the practice of nursing and midwifery, and the fundamentals of research. Saum continues to receive excellent grades and is very passionate about her future career in nursing.
Elisha will be graduating from Kampala International University in Dar es Salaam with a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work in December, 2023. He hopes to pursue a PhD in Social Work. Because there are so few social workers in Tanzania, the practice covers a wide area of issues. Elisha reports he has acquired a greater understanding of the needs of vulnerable and marginalized people in the community. He attended a 3-month field practice in the Iringa region (in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania), where he was assigned to the Social Welfare Office. There, he dealt with numerous issues including clients with marital disputes, drug addiction, child care problems, amnesty treatment for elders and the indigent, and children who violated the law. Visits to orphanages and a camp for the elderly were part of this year’s curriculum.
He attended leadership conferences, as well as conferences focused on rejecting violence against women and children. Elisha also participated in a community walk supporting people with disabilities. He reports that he has grown a greater understanding of the field of social work and how to improve the general welfare of the community. He is currently working on a research project, required for graduation. It has been a good year for Elisha and he continues to do very well academically.
Elisha has agreed to take on the additional responsibility of serving as the Tanzanian mentor for our newest social work scholar, Iman Chimuly. He has always expressed his gratitude for the scholarship opportunity and recently wrote yet again:
"I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your kindness and your support, especially financially, so that I can do well in my studies."
Veronica is nearing the end of the penultimate term of her 3-year Diploma program in Social Work and is preparing for theory exams, which start January 30 and last two weeks. She will graduate in November 2023 from Mwenge Catholic University in Moshi. Veronica’s daughter is starting primary school nearby the college. After exams, Veronica will start field work for five weeks until the end of term in March and then begin her final semester. She would love to continue following graduation and obtain a degree and possibly a Master’s degree after that.
It has always been Veronica’s dream to become a social worker and help people. In particular, she wants to work with needy children, especially orphans. She may even open an orphanage center so that she can take care of those children who have no homes and no parents or caretakers. She had told us that this is always in her mind.
In a recent email, Veronica again thanked her PSCTP mentor, Anne, the PSCTP Team:
"I would like to thank you all for giving me this opportunity and believing in me. It has always been my dream to become a social worker and help people."
Arafa is in her third and final year studying social work at the Mkolani Foundation Health Sciences Training Institute in northern Tanzania and will be graduating in September 2023 with a diploma. She is currently studying several areas germane to social work, including best practice, basic leadership and administration, resource mobilization, administration of social welfare resources, rehabilitation services and social policy.
She particularly enjoys working with various patient groups in the hospital setting, especially orphans, the elderly, women and children, people with chronic diseases and those affected by drug addiction. She is also interested in gender violation issues and marriage counseling. Her long term goals will likely focus on gender discrimination. To that end, she is contemplating continuing her education to obtain a degree in Social Work or Public Health.
She recently wrote to thank the entire team of Phil Simon for supporting her in her studies, for standing up for her, and for being people she can rely on. She especially appreciates Phil Simon and her PSCTP mentor, Dory, for giving her the means to success in her life.
Boniphace is one of 10 children and grew up in the northwest corner of Tanzania near the borders of Rwanda and Uganda. After obtaining a Diploma in Clinical Medicine at Mbeya College of Health and Allied Sciences in 2020, he worked as a volunteer Clinical Officer. As a new PSCTP scholar, Boniphace began 5 years of medical school in October 2022 at University of Dodoma, considered one of the best medical schools in Tanzania, in a class of 265 students. His academic courses, all taught in English, include biochemistry, cellular biology and histology, as well as communication and “lifestyles,” which teaches students how to assess community needs and deliver care in a compassionate and encompassing way.
He is finding the work challenging, interesting and enjoyable, and he is doing well. Passage of final exams in March is mandatory to proceed to the second semester, which will conclude in August. Early clinical experiences are provided on a volunteer basis during the first two years. Run largely by small groups of students, it is an opportunity to reach out to diverse and small clinics throughout Tanzania and have some early patient contact. His work as a clinical officer has prepared him well for the clinical outreach.
Boniphace has a deep and very genuine commitment to the health of his country and fellow citizens. He has long wished to be a healthcare provider, in recognition of the enormous shortage of physicians and nurses, especially for underserved and rural communities. He is a very intelligent, enthusiastic, humble, and compassionate young man. In his own words, “Healthcare workers must be ambassadors to bring change to their communities. I feel I was born to serve.”
Iman just began a 3-year program in Clinical Social Work at the Open University of Tanzania in October 2022. The university is located in Dodoma, in the central part of the country. It is the national capital of Tanzania and also Iman’s home city. Previously, Iman had obtained a diploma in clinical medicine, making him eligible to practice as a Clinical Officer (somewhat akin to a physician’s assistant in the United States). Before returning to school this past fall, he had been working in the field of community health with the Future Redeemers Foundation, assessing and educating the community about non-communicable diseases. Since he has a particular passion to serve the elderly and economically challenged people of the community, he decided to pursue a degree in social work.
He is finding his classes to be very interesting. One of their assignments was to identify the community resources available. That information was then shared with the village community. Iman was able to spend the holidays at home with his family and has just returned to school for the remainder of this term.
Jastin currently has his Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and wishes to pursue a Master’s degree in the field of Critical Care and Trauma Nursing, as there are very few nurses in Tanzania to fill this important role. He has been working as a nursing school professor and has just recently been hired to supervise tutorials in the classroom and clinical bedside nursing at Bugando Referral Hospital in Mwanza, Tanzania. Jastin plans to apply in the next few months to the Master’s degree program at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Dar es Salaam.
He is so excited to be the recipient of a PSCTP scholarship. He recently wrote:
"Also I would like to say happy new year to all PSCTP members, and I wish for them to be healthier. 2022 has been a good year to me as one of the new selected scholars, really it was a golden chance for me, because long time ago I was expecting to pursue further study, but the problem was the issue of my economy, but now I can feel that my ambition to serve people of Tanzania with regards of my advanced knowledge and practice is going to be fulfilled, and also I am going to help my Junior nurses including students. Really I am very thankful for the Phil Simon Tanzania Project to not to give us a fish which could be for a day, but you help us to get knowledge on how to fish so as we can fed us for a lifetime."
Jacqueline Wilfred, RN has recently started a two-year program at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, located in Dar es Salaam, where she is pursuing her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse midwife. One of PSCTP’s earliest scholars, she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing in 2019. Because paid positions are very rare in the nursing profession, despite the enormous shortage of nurses, Jacqueline has been working full-time as an unpaid volunteer registered nurse at a hospital in Arusha. During this time, she obtained a lot of clinical experience and was promoted to work as a supervisor of other nurses. However, she never gave up on her dream to become a nurse midwife and is just thrilled to have been accepted into the program at Muhimbili.
This first term, she has a busy schedule with rigorous academic classes, as well as clinical rotations 3 days each week. Her first clinical rotations have taken her to gynecology clinics, theatre (operating room) and hospital wards at Muhimbili University Hospital for gynecology complications and infertility cases. She will also have rotations at two different hospitals in Dar es Salaam to learn more about cancer and fistula cases.
Jacqueline continues to be our Tanzanian mentor to three of our scholars, Veronica, Elisha and Saumu. She is a real joy and a terrific ambassador for the scholarship program of PSCTP.
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