Our relationship with the Karatu Lutheran Hospital (KLH) began in 2010. Our previous Medical Director, Dr. Christopher Hartwig, was working with a palliative care facility in Tanzania, and helped link us with a hospital near there that could benefit from having a partner to support their programming. We began the process of forming a relationship with the Karatu Lutheran Hospital (KLH), exchanging communications to better understand the needs of the hospital and the patients they serve.
In March of 2011 CHPC sent a team of 6 employees to visit Karatu and to learn about palliative care in this far away land. While on the ground we were able to travel with the KLH Palliatiave Care Team and visit patients, tour the hospital, attend church services, and learn about the regional culture. We saw an overwhelming amount of need for support in the form of medical supplies, medications, clean water, transportation for hospital staff to get to and from patient visits. Upon our return we began devising means to support the hospital and increase patient access to its palliative care services.
In 2014 we were able to bring members of the KLH Palliative Care Team to visit our hospice program in Chautauqua County. This exchange allowed the KLH team the chance to first-hand our programs, interview patients, shadow staff and meet some of our community partners. The response from our KLH partners was overwhelming and we agreed to future exchanges to grow our relationship.
On March 18, 2018 CHPC sent four staff members to Tanzania for the third professional exchange: Jamie Probst, Bereavement Director; Cora Monroy, Community Outreach Coordinator, Debra Przepiora, LPN; and Rebecca Smouse, RN. While visiting our CHPC team assisted the hospital with patient care visits, palliative care education, community service linkages, fostering global relationships and establishing systems to direct vital supplies to the hospital.
Since the team’s return home, we have begun the process of involving the community in the partnership. It is our hope to include community members in the continued support of this project, and to utilize the skills, knowledge, and relationships we encounter every day to further the mission of ensuring that all people have access to high quality palliative care services.
For more information or if you would like to help move our Tanzania forward, please contact Jamie Probst at (716) 338-0033, x212.