A Graduation Story

2014 Tukuyu graduates (photo taken in 2012)
L to R: Devota, Aziza, Kisa, Tasiana and Martha


Dear Friends,
Earlier this month, five of our sponsored students completed their three-year nursing program at the Tukuyu School of Nursing. They have taken their national examination and, when they are notified of passing, will receive their Registered Nurse and Registered Midwife designation.

In the past couple of years we have funded academic awards at the school, for which all graduating students are eligible. We are pleased to tell you that Tasiana, one of our sponsored students, received the “First Academic Award” for the highest grade-point average over the three-year program. (As an aside, many sponsored students comment that financial support allows them to focus on their studies, rather than worrying about how they will pay school fees.)

In this newsletter we would like to tell you about Martha, one of the graduates. Here is the email we received from Martha:


Hallow my friends I hope that you are all doing fine. Here in Tanzania everything is so alright.

 I would like to thank you for offering me three years training sponsorship at Tukuyu School of Nursing. I once again express my thanks to you all and GOD bless you.

After finishing my final exams I went back to our village and I was interested to continue caring for patients.  At moment I am at a certain dispensary in which various services like deliveries, reproductive and child clinic services, bed rest for uncomplicated cases are provided.  

I was interested more in providing services in reproductive and child health clinics (huduma ya Baba, Mama na Mtoto) and I am enjoy conducting deliveries
Kindly find the attached photos showing procedures at reproductive and child health clinic that I have been providing.

We suspect that Martha is volunteering her time at the clinic while she waits for the results of the national examination. Rural clinics are a vital link in providing health services. Unfortunately, there are not enough of these clinics and they tend to be understaffed, underequipped and often lack electricity.

In Tanzania, prenatal and antenatal services are provided free to age 5, including the various immunizations. Mothers show up at the clinic once a month for immunizations, weighing and a general checkup. Below are photos Martha sent, with some descriptions based on our experiences in Tanzania:

Photo: Mothers and children at the monthly clinic visit
Photo: Mothers and children at the monthly clinic visit
Photo: Martha giving immunizations
Photo: Martha giving immunizations

The mother receives a card that records the immunizations and weight on a month-by-month basis. The weight is plotted on the chart by age (in months). Below is a photo that we took of a similar card several years ago. You will note (based on the plotted points) that the visits did not occur on a monthly basis. When this photo was taken I asked why some monthly visits were skipped and was told that distance (approximately 10 miles and no public transportation) was a factor.


This child’s card shows irregular attendance and slipping from “good” weight (in green).

Below are photos of Martha holding a child’s record card and weighing the child:


Many of the rural clinics do not have electricity; therefore keeping vaccines at an appropriate temperature is a challenge. The photo below shows the cooler used for vaccines:


 In Martha’s first photo you can see the colorful wraparounds that the women wear. This is called a kanga. This link provides an interesting history of the kanga and colorful examples.  In addition to the design and color, the kanga has a saying running along the bottom edge – here are some examples. Just like us, there is the workday kanga and the Sunday-best kanga – most time when we ask to take a photo the lady first has to change to her Sunday best.

Next month we would like to tell you a bit about one of the other students who graduated recently.

As always, we want to thank you for your interest and support.

We invite your comments and questions.

Linda van Werkhooven RN

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