Projects: History of Shirati Hospital
In 1934, Mennonite Missionaries arrived in Tanganyika (now Tanzania), East Africa and settled in the Shirati area. The prevalence of malaria, dysentery, and tropical fevers required the early dispatch of a medical team. The local chief assisted in the effort by erecting the first huts for the care of the sick. Simple structures were erected and the medical services emerged.
Following the construction of the first permanent hospital buildings in 1953, a school for training nurses opened in 1960. The hospital buildings were expanded and remodeled in the late 1960s. With the opening of an airstrip in 1960, Shirati's relationship with African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) medical services in Nairobi developed. After the mobile medical units came the airborne services. Four to six times per year their planes continue to bring consultants and technicians in the various branches of medicine and surgery to Shirati. A well-equipped medical research laboratory has placed Shirati on the cutting edge in the control of malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, and investigations into the current AIDS catastrophe.
Shirati Hospital developed in the environment of a mature Christian church. Expatriate doctors and nurses have worked through the years in training local personnel. Tanzanians now staff all areas of the hospital with several consultants present in supporting roles.