The Beginning: Dodoma Tanzania Health Development (DTHD) was founded by Bob and Barbara Griffin. In July of 2001, soon after Bob’s retirement as a senior executive at Medtronic, they received an invitation to visit Tanzania from the then-presiding Bishop of the Dodoma Diocese, the father of a young woman the Griffins were sponsoring at St. Olaf College.
The Need: Bob’s travel and medical device experience had long made him acutely aware that 80 percent of western-standard health care goes to 20 percent of the world’s population, but a tour of Dodoma’s general hospital underscored the reality of the health care disparity in clear ways. For Barbara, a retired nurse, the fact that Tanzania had one of the highest maternal/child mortality rates in the world became more disturbing. An undeniable tug began on the Griffins’ hearts to embrace the challenge.
The Answer: Two years later in 2003, the Griffins and other supporters established DTHD as a Minneapolis-based 501(c)3 to help found and support the development of Dodoma Christian Medical Center (DCMC). Bob and Bishop Peter Mwamasika became founding trustees of the medical center, and Dr. John Toso, with his wife Joann, moved to Dodoma to start the relay of progress. Dr. Wally McKenzie and his wife Kathy, both dental professionals, also joined the project to oversee the Dental Clinic construction, the first building completed in 2007, and organize the Dodoma prevention team with Dr. Charles Rabemahefa. Dr. Maria J. Kamm, founder of Mama Clementina girls school in Moshi Tanzania provided skilled and experienced leadership as DCMC’s board chair. (Tanzania President Kikwete and DCMC Founder Bob Griffin at Dental Clinic dedication ceremony are pictured above.)
The Outstanding Result: Today, DCMC is a thriving small hospital with inpatient/outpatient services, busy dental clinic and community outreach.
The Promise of Sustainability: In 2007, recognizing the challenge of sustainability, Bob encouraged investors to establish the Dodoma Innovation & Production Company (DIPC). DIPC is a separate for-profit social enterprise engaged in first in brick making, followed by water bottling, grape growing and construction. The investors are committed to providing at least 50 percent of its annual earnings to support the medical center. In addition, both DIPC and DCMC have created badly needed jobs in the area.