Tanzania remains one of the poorest countries in the world with healthcare resources out of reach for most of it’s people. Despite a population of over 40 million people, less than 100 general surgeons and 15 orthopedic surgeons operate regularly in this country.
From our first trip, it became apparent that a tremendous impact could be made through medical outreach. In the beginning, our medical efforts were centered primarily on performing orthopedic surgery on children with congenital deformities. As our ministry has expanded, several orthopedic surgeons and other medical personal have served during STEMM trips. As of 2008, well over 500 life changing orthopedic surgeries have been performed.
In Tanzania life is unfortunately “survival of the fittest.” There are no programs for underprivileged individuals and a congenital anomaly usually relegates one to a life of being a street beggar or worse. When our team operates on a child, we not only provide them the ability to walk, we change the course of that child’s entire life. We have also facilitated the transportation to medical care in the U.S. for individuals whose situations require a surgical complexity not available in Tanzania. It is a tremendous blessing to be able to use our God given talents to serve Him.
Increasingly, we have been directing our efforts toward medical education. We take every opportunity to teach native physicians and nurses in many areas of hands-on health care training. Trip members have the opportunity to educate high school students on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. The level of misunderstanding and ignorance of the HIV virus and AIDS epidemic compels us to intensify that effort. During our semi-annual trips, our teams reach out to thousands of junior and high school students.
On each trip we bring supplies, equipment, and pharmaceuticals. Various partners, particularly Stryker Corporation, have been instrumental in allowing us to forge new medical frontiers in Tanzania. Additionally, STEMM teams have performed the first hip and knee replacements in the history of Tanzania. We continue to work closely with Selian Hospital in Arusha to develop a first class orthopedic institute for joint reconstruction and trauma rehabilitation. This new hospital will serve as an ongoing model for the possibility of first class medicine in a third worldenvironment. Furthermore, we continually expand our outreach with several other hospital facilities in Tanzania.
In the summer of 2012, the founder of STEMM, Dr. Steve Meyer and Program Director, Gayla Stroscheien, helped bring Operation Walk to Tanzania. This was the first time Operation Walk has made a trip to Africa. The Operation Walk team performed 45 free joint replacement operations at ALMC Hospital in Arusha. The doctors in Tanzania cannot perform these type of operations. Not only did these patients receive free medical care that they otherwise could not afford, but they received some of the best care in the world. Visit www.operationwalk.com to learn more about the mission of this great organization.
In June of 2014, Dr. Steve Meyer was able to lead another team on an Operation Walk trip to Tanzania. Along with performing life-changing surgeries, the team worked with Soles4Souls to hand out shoes in the STEMM Village in Mbuguni. They were also able to work at the ALMC hospital in Arusha.
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