Korean Rotarians lay foundation for health center
Vice President Ali Mohamed Shein of Tanzania and 2008-09 RI President Dong Kurn Lee attend a dedication ceremony in April for a mother and child medical center at Tumbi Special Hospital in Kibaha, Tanzania. Photo courtesy of Sang Koo Yun
Answering the call from Past RI President Dong Kurn Lee to reduce child mortality, Rotary clubs in Korea donated US$500,000 to build a new medical center dedicated to improving health care for women and children in Tanzania.
The facility, set to open in 2010 at Tumbi Special Hospital in Kibaha, is expected to save up to 42 children per day and will enrich the lives of one million residents of the country's Pwani Region, says Sang Koo Yun, project leader and past governor of District 3650.
"This initiative is a representation of the dream [Past] President Lee has of reducing child mortality in Africa and throughout the world," says Yun. "We hope the project will set an example for people who wish to engage in similar initiatives."
A fact-finding team of Korean Rotarians, organized by Yun, traveled in November to Tanzania, where the group visited medical facilities specializing in mother and child health care and met with top health officials, hospital management, and local Rotary club members.
Based on the team's recommendations, the Korean and Tanzanian clubs selected Tumbi hospital as the site for the new facility. The hospital is part of the Kibaha Education Centre, where health officers and nurses are trained.
"Since the existing mother-child health care facility at the hospital needs updating and refurbishing, a new operating room, delivery rooms, and an X-ray room are to be constructed. Also, more modern equipment and furnishings will be installed," says Yun.
The center will provide on-site training and educational programs to improve the quality of the medical services and management. Public awareness programs will be designed to educate the community about health and hygiene.
The Korean Rotarians' donations were matched by the Community Chest of Korea, which supports the effort to reduce child mortality.
A dedication ceremony was held in April for the $1 million medical center. Vice President Ali Mohamed Shein of Tanzania, who attended the event along with Lee, Yun, and several other Korean Rotarians, praised Rotary's commitment to international service projects.
"Rotary International is an indispensable partner in providing services to the needy and promoting social and economic development," says Shein. "The new facility will be an important step in strengthening mother and child health care -- something that is in great demand in this country."