In the News

Team Tanzania’s latest journey to Africa

Team Tanzania’s latest journey to Africa
Jul 8 2024

In February 2024, Huntington Health volunteers from Team Tanzania returned to Africa on their 12th mission to support the efforts of the Phil Simon Clinic Tanzania Project (PSCTP). Since 2002, the nonprofit has provided clinical and specialty care, veterinary care, education and social work in East Africa.

During the trip, the team accomplished many goals, including hosting a two-day scholarship conference, setting up new, safer venues for surgical teams, creating new collaborations for future medical teams, and establishing relationships with veterinary organizations/leadership. They also set the wheels in motion for an international project that focuses on One Health initiatives, which aim to improve the lives of all species by integrating human medicine, veterinary medicine and environmental science. PSCTP Founder and Project Leader Kimberly Shriner, MD, FACP, medical director of infection prevention and control, Huntington Health, gave us a glimpse into some of their important work this time around.

Scholarship Conference

PSCTP offers a health care scholarship program to ease the shortage of physicians and nurses in Tanzania. At the 2024 conference, outstanding and committed scholars were showcased. “Our scholars are curious, compassionate, motivated and inspirational. They are interested in diverse opportunities, including clinical work, leadership and research,” said Dr. Shriner. “Our scholarship program is one of the most impactful and lasting investments in PSCTP’s presence in Tanzania.”

Safer Venues for Surgical Teams

The team met with staff and leadership at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC), which is a tertiary referral medical center for Northern Tanzania, medical school and teaching hospital with multidisciplinary residencies. As a tertiary care center, KCMC provides services in trauma and emergency medicine, critical care, advanced surgical specialties and cancer therapies. The team also met with staff and leadership at the newly renovated Mount Meru Medical Center (MMMC) in Arusha. Of note, PSCTP awarded a scholarship to one of the gastroenterologists who works there, Ezekiel  Moirana, MD, who later established MMMC’s endoscopy suite. “Our meetings were successful and will open up new opportunities for clinical and academic collaboration with dedicated specialists on the PSCTP teams,” said Dr. Shriner.

Outpatient Clinical Venues

PSCTP has forged a new partnership outside of Arusha, Tanzania, to potentially provide infrastructure and support for much needed clinical services in an underserved area in the Ngorongoro Highlands. “Proving that scholastic inspiration can produce real effects in health care accessibility, PSCTP graduate, Dr. Rebeka Gurti, and her husband, Amani, have established a small, but impactful, outpatient clinic in their local village,” Dr. Shriner explained.  

Veterinary Relationships

The team met with Mbwa wa Africa Animal Rescue, which was originally a dog shelter and is now an animal welfare organization/hospital in the Arusha Region. They spay and neuter, vaccinate, shelter and rehabilitate dogs and cats. The relationship is an effort to form an alliance with academic, clinical and research colleagues/leadership in veterinary organizations in the region. “PSCTP will soon be sponsoring a veterinary student as part of its One Health mission,” Dr. Shriner noted.

One Health Project

According to a 2019 report from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, antibiotic-resistant infections are responsible for more deaths than HIV/AIDS and malaria in Africa. To better understand this resistance, scientists must study the microbes (normal and abnormal) that live in the intestines (i.e., gut) of humans and animals because the gut is the most significant reservoir of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. “This understanding of the composition, dynamics, impact and overlap of intestinal microbes between humans and animals (wild and domestic) is not only important for antibiotic resistance; it’s an important monitor of global health, finding zoonotic infections and discovering pathogens that nobody has seen before that could become pandemics,” Dr. Shriner explained.

PSCTP is initiating a pilot study to assess the feasibility and implementation of a collaborative, multidisciplinary global health project on this topic using One Health initiatives. The project will entail the following:

  • Assessing the health of individual organisms, communities and ecosystems.
  • Understanding interactions and overlap of organisms, communities and ecosystems.
  • Identifying zoonotic spillovers (i.e., infectious diseases transmitted between species).
  • Assessing the extent, diversity, impact and species crossover of bacterial pathogens and/or gut inhabitants exhibiting antibiotic resistance.​
  • Measuring ecosystem interdependencies, influences, dynamics, diversity and reflection of species health and interfaces​.
  • Creating a global database.

Dr. Shriner has proposed assessing the microbial characteristics of inhabitants of several diverse ecosystems in East Africa. She is also interested in conducting this research in Southern California in the near future.​

She closed with praise for the program: “The generosity and dedication of so many members of the Huntington Hospital community have made an enormous difference in the health of people in Tanzania. It speaks to the quality of care that we provide for communities – even outside our walls.”

To learn more about the PSCTP, visit