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  • Writer's pictureAnnieHartley

Weeks 4&5 - Voodoo blessings

Your author has taken a lot of flak for the tardiness of this post and humbly begs your pardon. 🙇‍♀️ For the past 10 days, I have actually been in Cotonou, Benin in West Africa....and on strict Tintswalo business!

As part of our vision of transforming Tintswalo into a Centre of Excellence in Rural Health, we are forging an intra-African clinical research collaboration to improve the diagnosis of respiratory disease in resource-limited settings (i.e. guiding expert care without fancy CT/MRI machines or specialists).

The study is called ✨"LUSSTER"✨ for "Lung UltraSound and Sound in TB-Endemic Regions" and will take place in South Africa, Benin and Mali.

A major part of this project involves training rural doctors to become experts in ultrasound and then using their new found expertise to train an AI-powered mobile application that can automate such guidance for other resource-limited hospitals.

This week our Cotonou team completed the first step: graduating from our tough expert course in lung ultrasound! 👏🥇🏆👏

The Butterfly ultrasound probes plug directly into a mobile phone and function on battery power. It is a non-invasive, quick, and extremely versatile tool that can be used on everything from tracking pregnancies to trauma management.

Next stop: TINTSWALO!

Less than 2% of the world's medical research comes from Africa, despite it suffering over 30% of the global burden of disease, and the majority of preventable deaths. This means that many of the published clinical management guidelines and protocols are poorly adapted to such neglected populations, and don't take into account the influence of local diseases, epidemiology or our particular (i.e. lacking) resources.

Establishing oneself as a centre of research is also a source of future financing and is just one example of how we are thinking 🔭 LONG term to sustain the quality of care that YOUR donations are helping establish.


As Cotonou is the world's capital of Voodoo, we were lucky enough to receive an official blessing from a local Voodoo practitioner to better ensure the success of our project.

The priest examined this blog as part of the consultation and was deeply impressed by our progress. He insisted on further securing the success of the project with a sacrifice of good fortune.

(which was, admittedly, not so fortunate for the cock...)

We now have a talisman (blessed with African fortune in the pot below) that we are instructed to bury in the cement of one of our new floors 🪄.

Speaking of which...our new concrete floor for High Care is FINALLY dry after 3 weeks of settling and ready for painting with the hospital-grade paint donated from VerniFlooring!

We also

1) Stripped the SECOND high care ward (that was recently made possible with your donations)

2) Received permission to create an official Rape and Sexual Assault Examination room, (and have planned the design)

3) Sourced 6 (thats right...SIX!!) patient monitors (within our original budget for two)

4) Sourced a DONATED ACLS training (advanced cardiac life support) that will be provided by the leading emergency care providers in South Africa (NetCare911) in October. (To use the defibrillators donated from Procamed one needs to be trained)

5) Found SUPER discounted wipe-down wall vinyl to ensure the longevity and ICU-grade cleanliness of our NEW high care ward(s!).

Step-by-(very big)-step we are showing how rural health care can be excellent health care at an absolute minimal cost.

Everything we have done so far for the High Care project has cost as much as a pretty average lawnmower. Yup. Really.

(Just ping me if you want access to the daily expenditure excel sheet and see for yourself.)

And we're just getting started...

Join us.

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