Our hearts go out to you and your families during this global pandemic and we are wishing you well. The Kupona Foundation team would like to update you on what is happening in Tanzania at CCBRT following this outbreak of COVID-19.

COVID-19 affects us all and we must be united in our response. Kupona Foundation is committed to supporting our sister organization in Tanzania, CCBRT, during this difficult time. Despite the risks and challenges, CCBRT’s frontline health workers continue to provide life-changing and life-saving care for the most vulnerable, notably  women, children, and people with disabilities. 

CCBRT’s Response to COVID-19
CCBRT management has set up a team led by Dr. Bedan Gichanga, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), to lead and coordinate its efforts in COVID-19 planning and preparedness. The team is closely monitoring the viral spread and categorizing the crisis to respond appropriately. This has resulted in a multi-level emergency protocol informed by the Tanzanian Ministry of Health, the status and developments in Dar es Salaam, and the phase of the epidemic. This multi-level response is to ensure that CCBRT can continue to provide its life-changing services without creating undue exposure to both its staff and patients. 

Safety measures CCBRT has implemented thus far

  • Regular briefings and education sessions about COVID-19 to front line health workers and to other staff both in Dar es Salaam and Moshi.  
  • Promoting hand hygiene and investing in additional infection prevention measures at entry points and within the campus (sanitizer, treated running water and soap).
  • Limiting visitors to in-patients to 1 at a time. 
  • Promoting cashless payments via mobile money.
  • Setting up an isolation room(s) in readiness/ preparedness for any activity.
  • Conducting temperature checks for all incoming staff, patients, and visitors at all entries to the hospital. 
  • Instructing any staff members who are not well to stay home and directing staff members who are or who may be in a risk category to contact HR in advance for planning purposes.

Program related updates 

  • CCBRT is minimizing the number of women they are treating for obstetric fistula. 
  • At the clubfoot clinic, new cases have been deferred to July.
  • Previously scheduled trainings and outreach programs (screenings) have been postponed.

Immediate Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Suspended the travel of two Ophthalmology and Orthopedics specialists who were visiting from other countries. 
  • A decrease in sales at the Mabinti Centre, both at their workshop and in the retail shop.
  • Suspended all scheduled trainings at the CCBRT Academy.
  • Reductions in capacity on the ground, as a number of CCBRT’s expatriate staff have had to leave the country, including three of the five members of CCBRT’s fundraising team.
  • Reduced capacity for provision of high quality maternal and newborn healthcare in CCBRT-supported sites as staff are pulled for COVID-19 preparedness.

Anticipated Long Term Effects
CCBRT anticipates that the Tanzanian economy will take a significant hit due to reduced tourism, (Tanzania’s biggest foreign exchange earner), and potential closures such as those we are experiencing in the United States, and expects to see further decreases in the number of expatriates staying in-country. 

In Tanzania, we know the health system is much less elastic than in the U.S. and elsewhere with most of the healthcare infrastructure already at capacity and not meeting demand in full. Their epidemic is just starting with only 19 reported cases as of this weekend, and one death. CCBRT represents one of the facilities we know is trusted to provide high quality care. Part of the impact of an epidemic is that these facilities are put under severe pressure leaving existing care to lag and morbidity and mortality to rise as a result of COVID-19 as well as existing and significant unmet health needs.

We are anticipating a significant reduction in patient revenue at CCBRT and decreases in partner and donor revenue due to COVID-19, at a time when donor and partner support is needed more than ever.

How can you help?
We are thankful for the continued support of the Kupona community, even as we all experience our own personal and professional challenges during this unprecedented time of uncertainty.  Unrestricted support is vital as we navigate this pandemic and prepare for the after effects that may unfold. If you are in a position to do so, you can support our frontline health workers by making an unrestricted gift, helping us provide the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and additional support that our health workers need to stay safe and continue to serve the most vulnerable in the community. 

Thank you, and be well during these challenging times.