Opening in 2011, our laboratory has become a critical part of patient care. In 2017, the lab served nearly 18,700 patients – a 90% increase in patient lab visits from 2012. Today, our laboratory has 13 staff members. FAME has also recruited a long-term US volunteer, who partners with the lab manager to supplement the staff’s formal education with ongoing training & familiarize staff with new technologies.
With a fully automated blood chemistry machine, our lab technicians can run critical chemistry profiles on patients. Our lab offers same day services for all lab work – a significant benefit for patients traveling long distances. We also have the capacity to run thyroid & PSA studies, diagnose Hepatitis B & C, & perform the hemoglobin A1C test – necessary for managing diabetes. The FAME lab is the only lab within a 140-kilometer radius with these diagnostic capabilities.
FAME also has the necessary equipment to digitally capture images of patient blood smears & fine needle aspirations & transmit these to volunteer hematology/oncology consultants in the US for the
preliminary diagnosis of leukemias & lymphomas.
In 2014, with the introduction of surgery & labor & delivery services, the lab acquired a blood storage refrigerator. In accordance with government protocol, FAME collects blood & then exchanges it for safe (screened) blood at the Regional Blood Bank Center in Arusha. Thanks to FAME’s capacity to screen for seven of the eight government-required tests, our lab is allowed to collect, screen, cross-match & deliver blood on our campus in emergency situations. FAME, on average, transfuses one patient every other day.
Additionally, each year, FAME sees an increasing number of patients with serious & resistant infections. In Tanzania, antibiotics can be obtained over the counter without a proper diagnosis or prescription. In 2018, FAME will launch a bacterial culture & antibiotic sensitivity (C&S) program. With microbial C&S, we aim to identify specific, effective antibiotic treatments for these serious, recurrent, &/or persistent infections. We are also developing protocols to ensure that all staff have access to C&S training and safe and appropriate procedures.
In 2016, GE Healthcare’s extraordinary gift arrived: an X-ray machine, CT scanner, ultrasound machine, two anesthesia machines with monitors, & two ventilators. They added to this already jaw dropping gift a 220KVA generator & the electrical engineering expertise to help this program take flight. Following installation, we welcomed the first of several trainers from GE to orient our radiographer & doctors on the new equipment. The initial orientation focused on the CT machine, both its technical features & diagnostic capabilities. The training was intense & thorough, resulting in FAME’s very first CT scan being performed on August 22, 2016. Then, after a few technical hiccups & transport delays, we were also able to roll out our long-awaited X-ray services. On October
26, 2016 we performed our very first X-ray on a little boy with an injured arm & elbow. He had fallen at school & was subsequently referred to us by Rift Valley Children’s Village.
In 2017, FAME had a system installed to store, organize, & transmit X-rays & CTs digitally, making them accessible throughout the hospital & abroad. Fortunately, we have individual radiologists in the US who embrace our mission and are graciously reading & interpreting digital images for us.
Today, we are performing about 5 X-rays per day & 5 CT scans per week. The main reason patients are taken to radiology is for probable TB, sever cough, chronic pain, difficulty breathing, fall related injuries, or injuries from motor accidents. In 2017, we performed 1,388 X-rays and 35 CT scans.