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Golf tournament to raise funds to construct hospital in Tanzania

Date: 10/9/2014

LONGMEADOW – Jambo Tanzania, a Springfield-based nonprofit organization, will host a golf tournament fundraiser at the Twin Hills Country Club on Oct. 20. The organization is raising funds to construct a hospital in the village of Bukoba, Tanzania.

Anne Lynch, a Springfield native and member of the Jambo Tanzania Board of Directors, said the organization has built a primary school, a library and has completed the first phase of a full service health care center in Bukoba.

The founder of Jambo Tanzania is Dr. Mary Banda, a Longmeadow resident originally from Tanzania and hospitalist at Mercy Medical Center who sought to bring medical care to people in the Gera region of the country, Lynch explained.

Lynch, a retired registered nurse at who worked at Mercy Medical Center, said Banda worked three jobs in order to pay for medical school and initially began sending clothes and other goods back to the Gera region to help people.

“This area has been hard hit by the HIV and AIDS epidemic leaving large numbers of children orphaned or in the care of sick parents or aging grandparents,” she said. “The poverty of these people is unimaginable, their needs daunting. Yet, our volunteers feel that together we can make a difference.”

Lynch said she visited the Gera region during two weeks in July, helping to run a free medical center alongside about 13 other volunteers who travel to Tanzania at their own expense. This the fifth time Lynch has volunteered and the first time the group has had a dentist.

 “They do have a hospital in Bukoba but they need money to go,” she said. “There’s no insurance, so they need money to go. Our clinic is totally free; it’s free care, free medicine, free everything.”

Dr. Fred Kapinos, whose dental offices are located in Chicopee, performed extractions, root canals, and fillings in dental office with run by a generator, she said. Kapinos fashioned a dental chair with a headrest, a suction from a small vacuum, and a sterilizer from a pressure cooker.

“It was fabulous and the people appreciated the work he did,” Lynch said. “A young girl came in with decay in her front teeth and wouldn’t smile. Dr. Kapinos drilled out the decay and filled the teeth. The girl left the dental office smiling.”

Lynch said doctors saw between 100 and 150 patients a day for ailments such as high blood pressure, diabetes, malaria, sexually transmitted diseases, and dehydration.