BHA congratulates board member Dr. Lowell Schnipper, Theodore and Evelyn Berenson Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, who obtained two three-year grants of $20,000 per year from the Sartia Kenedy East Foundation to support cervical cancer prevention programs at St. Albert’s and at Karanda Mission Hospitals for 2017-2019.
Cervical Cancer Prevention
St. Albert’s Mission Hospital
As of March 31, 2017: St. Albert’s cervical cancer prevention program had screened nearly 8,900 women; identified more than 400 women with precancerous changes and 98 women with possible cervical cancer. The hospital had performed a total of 135 cryotherapy procedures to prevent the development of the disease. The program began Aug. 1, 2013.
Karanda Mission Hospital
Dr. Schnipper obtained a three-year, $20,000 per year grant to support cervical-cancer screening at Karanda Mission Hospital. Our July trip to Zimbabwe (described below) included visiting Karanda and meeting with Dr Paul Thistle, OB/GYN, to discuss the hospital’s VIAC clinic and provide a cancer-education workshop to hospital staff. Dr. Schnipper worked with Dr. Paul Thistle at Karanda and Dr. Megan Fitzpatrick at Stanford and others to organize a study to learn what subtypes of HPV were prevalent among women coming to Karanda for cervical screening. The study could produce data that will help estimate the effectiveness of current HPV vaccines in Zimbabwe.
Dr. Schnipper worked with Dr. Paul Thistle at Karanda and Dr. Megan Fitzpatrick at Stanford and others to organize a study to learn what subtypes of HPV were prevalent among women coming to Karanda for cervical screening. The study could produce data that will help estimate the effectiveness of current HPV vaccines in Zimbabwe.
Water System Improvements
BHA sent more than $9,400 to purchase and install a solar-powered water pump. The pump moves water from a ground storage tank to the tower tanks that serve the hospital.
The funds included the $2,000 donation to BHA raised by the St. Louis College of Pharmacy’s International Student Organization during their 2017 annual fundraiser.
In November 2017, Dr. Musariri wrote to say that the pump was operational. “We have had power cuts since 16 Nov. 2017 to today, but the hospital has water. Accept our sincere gratitude.”
Meeting Critical Needs
A container shipment of refurbished medical equipment provided by the International Medical Equipment Corporation arrived at St. Albert’s in 2017. The shipment was made possible by Dr. Lowell Schnipper, who obtained a $166,000 grant from a private foundation that asked to remain anonymous.
BHA helped coordinate the shipment and served as the shipper of record. In addition, 2016, BHA funded a expansion of St. Albert’s clinical laboratory that was necessary to accommodate new equipment and a larger fume hood.
The shipment included a badly needed replacement X-ray unit, a suite of rehabilitation equipment, a chemistry analyzer, GeneXpert, exhaust hood and other equipment for the hospital’s clinical laboratory, among other things. BHA helped coordinate the shipment and served as the shipper of record. In 2016, BHA funded an expansion of St. Albert’s clinical laboratory that was necessary to accommodate the new fume hood and equipment.
Upon arrival of the container Feb. 7, 2017, Dr. Musariri wrote: “Accept our sincere thanks for the hospital equipment consignment. It arrived safely during the night Monday.
BHA helped coordinate visits to St Albert’s by two pediatric fellows from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. One of the young doctors was trained in the fundamentals of neonatal resuscitation through a program called Helping Babies Breathe. She brought several mannequins to train midwives and other providers at St. Albert’s in the technique. She also carried a new battery for a MacBook Pro, used by one of the St. Albert’s doctors and an HDMI cable to connect the laptop to the hospital’s projector, both purchased by BHA. A second fellow from Nationwide Children’s was already at St Albert’s. Five pediatric fellows from Nationwide Children’s have visited St Albert’s in the last three years, and BHA helped coordinate all of them.
Other 2017 activities/accomplishments
Dr. Anna Nyakabau, a radiation and medical oncologist from Zimbabwe, traveled to Boston for about 10 days to visit Dr. Schnipper and observe radiation and medical oncologists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She then came to Columbus to observe the treatment of breast and other cancers at Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. Darrell then drove Dr. Nyakabau to Chicago where she attended the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual conference before returning to Zimbabwe. (Note: no BHA funds were used for air fare or other expenses associated with Dr. Nyakabau’s visit.)
In Janurary, BHA was contacted by Botswanan journalist seeking information for an article about cervical cancer in Zimbabwe. She wrote it for Women and Girls Hub, an online news platform that focuses on issues affecting women and girls in the developing world. Read the article here
In June, BHA was invited by an editor at Zimbabwe’s Financial Gazette newspaper in Harare about writing an article for a sister publication, The Health Funder, a magazine published for the Association of Health Funders of Zimbabwe. The result was an article written by Darrell, in consultation with physician friends in Zimbabwe, about the importance of cancer education and cancer literacy You can download the article here and the issue here: The Health Funder magazine.
Dr. Schnipper helped doctors at Parirenyatwa Hospital obtain a donated subscription to UpToDate, an online source of medical information for all manner of medical and surgical problems. It is used widely by physicians at many U.S. teaching hospitals.
Donors to BHA provided $1440 to provide lunches to the St. Albert’s drivers traveling that take nurse to distant rural health centers for cervical screening. The outreach effort brings VIAC screening to women in remote areas who cannot afford transportation to St. Albert’s.
Donors to BHA provided $1,200 that enabled St. Albert’s to buy fresh batteries to replace spent batteries in the hospital’s cervical screening (VIAC) clinic.
Visit to Zimbabwe
- Meetings with Dr. Nyakabau and others at Parirenyatwa Hospital and the University of Zimbabwe.
- Dr. Schnipper met with young doctors to review cancer cases the doctors were treating.
- A meeting at Island Hospice to explore the possibility of palliative care training for St Albert’s and Karanda and to accompany a hospice nurse for an afternoon of home visits in a high-density area of Harare.
- A guest lecture presented by Dr. Schnipper at Parirenyatwa Hospital on the history of medical oncology beginning with the first mustard-gas-related therapies to genomics and its role in drug discovery and treatment.
At St. Albert’s
- Discussed the needs of the cervical cancer prevention program;
- Were updated on improvements to the hospital’s water system that BHA and Dr. Schnipper have supported.
- Were updated on the area’s food situation.
- Delivered a replacement ballast unit for the fume hood in the hospital’s clinical laboratory (the fume hood will not work without it).
- Delivered a number of packH2O water backpacks donated by a Columbus, Ohio, businessman.
- Attended an event commemorating the life of Dr. Elizabeth Tarira, director of the hospital from 1999-2012, when she died of recurrent breast cancer. The event was held at St. Albert’s hospital.
- Discussed the needs of the cervical cancer prevention program.
- Held two half-day cancer workshops for nurses and staff. The workshops used six videos from Ohio State’s free online cancer course Introduction to the Science of Cancer and were moderated by a physician assistant at Karanda. The workshops were a success and support use of the videos as a way to provide cancer education in low-resource countries and in the United States.
Here is a video that takes you on a walk from St. Albert’s hospital guest house to the hospital gate with an unplanned appearance by Dr Musariri: https://youtu.be/orKnuCG7-Fc
A short video showing the hospital’s reservoir on a quiet evening: https://youtu.be/5A8KfLGa02g