Providing Safe Surgical Care for Patients at Iambi

As part of Zumbro's 10 year anniversary of partnership with Iambi Lutheran Hospital in Tanzania, we are working to raise $20,000 for two important initiatives for Iambi:

  1. To purchase an anesthesia machine to support surgical treatments.
  2. To assist with upgrading to an electronic medical record system.

The Zumbro Tanzania Team, along with Dr. Gudu, Iambi Hospital's doctor in charge, share some background on the need for the anesthesia machine and the type of machine needed.

Anesthesia is a vital part of surgery. It allows patients to go through a surgical procedure without experiencing pain and suffering. To provide safe anesthesia care, an anesthesia gas machine is needed.   What is an anesthesia gas machine? It is a device that delivers the precise amount of gas mixture that includes anesthetizing and life-sustaining gases.

At Iambi Hospital the current anesthesia machine has unreliable functionality due to the inconsistency of electricity and limited availability of oxygen. Dr. Gudu provided an email to us that included photos of Iambi’s anesthesia machine, surgical suite team including the anesthesiologist, and more details of surgical procedures done at the hospital. The number of surgical procedures done in the theater (operating room) in a week varies from five to eight major procedures that include: laparotomy, appendectomy, hernia repair, total abdominal hysterectomy, hydrocelectomy, and cesarean section. The list of minor procedures includes incision and drainage of wounds, orthopedic reduction under general anesthesia, and tooth extractions. Dr. Gudu shared that on average there are three to five of these procedures completed each week.

From left to right:  Kidimwa (nurse attendant), Sarah (anesthesiologist), Ester (theater in charge), Sabina (nurse attendant), and Isaya (nurse attendant).

The anesthesia machine Zumbro is exploring to purchase works without electricity and without oxygen.   How does it work? The new machine uses an incorporated oxygen concentrator that allows the machine to produce its own oxygen. If oxygen is available at Iambi this can still be used.  The new machine automatically takes oxygen from the room air to create medical-grade oxygen.

Consistent supply of electricity is an additional concern at Iambi. The new machine functions on a rechargeable battery that lasts up to six hours. That means when the electricity goes out at Iambi the machine will continue to run and allow the procedure to continue as planned.

The organization that has designed this machine is Gradian Health Systems, a nonprofit company. It is called a Universal Anesthesia Machine (UAM). It has been used in countries such as Malawi, Sierra Leone, and Zambia to deliver anesthesia without any electricity and has helped to save lives in the process.

More detailed information about the machine is available in the link  

Anaesthesia Workstation (

The company's website states: "We have a pretty good shot here at making a big dent in what is otherwise a really challenging issue."

The Tanzania Team of Zumbro hopes that you will donate to help Iambi Hospital provide a safer surgical experience for the people in the village.  The estimated expense of the new machine is $15,000. 

Thank you to those who already have sent their donations.  Asante sana – thank you very much in Swahili the native language at Iambi Hospital.

You can give to this fundraising campaign online through our new Church Center giving link below (choose Iambi/Tanzania on the drop-down list) or via check to Zumbro Lutheran Church with Iambi in the memo.


Julie Neumann and The Tanzania Team at Zumbro

Read More