Year Joined MKLM: 2016
Project(s): Bukumbi Hospital Pediatrician
People Served: Youth and families in the village of Bukumbi, Tanzania (south of Mwanza).
Project Goal(s): To provide and improve the healthcare of the children brought to Bukumbi Hospital.
On arrival to Tanzania, following months of Kiswahili language study, George and his wife, Anne, learned of the possibility of working at Bukumbi Hospital, under the Catholic Archdiocese of Mwanza. This hospital was stated to be understaffed, under new leadership, and very eager for new missioner physicians, and before too long, Anne and George joined the staff.
On any given day, George finds himself busy treating malaria, viral illnesses, diarrheal illnesses, anemia, malnutrition, pneumonia and other medical conditions. Providing care to these children is often quite difficult for many reasons, not the least of which is money. Quite often, George and the child’s family have to discuss what care is absolutely necessary for the child to survive, as the family cannot afford all of the testing and treatment that George would pursue given adequate funds.
George has learned to grow more comfortable (or at least less UNcomfortable) with not knowing all the answers to the medical puzzles he encounters. Many times, a given test or medication may not be available or may be too expensive for the family to afford, and so strategical decisions must be made in order to improve the care of the child—the overall goal.
There is nothing so rewarding as a child who was carried into the ward because of severe illness running out of the ward a few days later after completing medical treatment. This dramatic improvement, seeing the smiles return to the children’s faces, is the reward for this work.
George says, “These children and their families remind me of what is really important in life—health and love. No matter what, if they have love and their health, all else will come.”
George is from Monongahela, PA, but recently lived in Clendenin, WV. He has a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and Psychology from Allegheny College, PA, and a Doctor of Medicine from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. His pediatric residency was at Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center Boston, MA. George has worked as a child-care aide (during college) and then as a pediatrician and administrator over the school-based health program through his most recent job prior to MKLM. He went on a brief medical mission to Ghana, where he developed his thirst for more underserved international medical work. While living in Clendenin, he and his family helped to organize and run healthy eating and physical activity events and fitness fairs in the community. In his parish, he was a cantor and sang in the choir.
George and his wife, Anne Berry, have two young daughters, Susanna and Louisa. They are all currently in mission in Tanzania.