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Heri Hospital, Tanzania

Photo courtesy of ASTR Archives (folder: ASTR Photo Collection, folder: Africa Medical and Indigenous).

Heri Adventist Hospital

By Fulgence Mangosongo


Fulgence Mangosongo (B.A. in Theology, University of Arusha, Arusha, Tanzania; B.A.-CED, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania) is serving as a frontline ordained pastor in Western Tanzania Conference and Projects and Development Committee secretary for the same conference. He has served the community as a Community Economic Development officer before joining pastoral ministry. He is married to Shelida Crispo Mukali and has two sons and one daughter.

Heri Mission Hospital is an Adventist hospital in Western Tanzania since 1949.


Heri Mission is one of the old evangelistic centers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Tanzania. It is located in Kigoma Region, Western Tanzania. It was established by missionaries from South Africa and America accompanied by native missionaries from Mara and Pare regions of Tanzania. A South African missionary by the name of William Sparrow arrived in Manyovu Kigoma from Mara on October 20, 1946. He was accompanied by his wife, three children, and a Kurya servant by the name of Daudi. They established a temporary settlement under a tree. Sparrow was a constructor, and he almost immediately began with road construction to the site where Heri Adventist Hospital would later be constructed.1

William Sparrow began construction of the hospital in 1947. Before the buildings were completed, a clinic was opened in June of 1949 with Dr. W. H. Taylor in charge and Alice Jansen as nurse and Petro Marwa as a ministerial worker.2

Heri Adventist Hospital is presently a 97-bed capacity general hospital situated near Lake Tanganyika in Western Tanzania, a few miles from the Burundi border and about forty-five miles from Kigoma town. It is operated by the Northern Tanzania Union Conference and serves the Ha tribe primarily but draws patients from other tribes as well, both inside and outside Tanzania borders.3

Founders of the Institution

The founders of Heri Mission Hospital were missionaries from South Africa, U.S.A., and Musoma, Tanzania. These were William Sparrow, a South African who came in 1946, and Dr. William H. Taylor from the U.S.A., who came in 1949.4

It was Tanganyika Mission Field, East African Union Mission and Southern African Division, through which the work to establish Heri Mission Hospital was facilitated.5 The Adventist Church under the supervision of Tanganyika Mission Field coordinated the establishment of Heri Mission Hospital. The church brought missionaries from the United States and other countries and sent William Sparrow to Manyovu Kigoma to construct a health evangelistic center. Later, Sparrow came to Manyovu from Busegwe, Mara, on October 20, 1946.6

Original Location of the Institution

The original location of the institution was and is Nyamasovu-Manyovu Kigoma. The reason for the location is that the chief (Mwami Ntare of Herujuu) directed missionaries to find a suitable place for them. They went to different places like Muyama and Herujuu. Fortunately, they arrived at Manyovu in Munanila village at a place called Nyamasovu, which is named because of the availability of grass known as "nsovu" in Ha, the local dialect. Missionaries saw the area was the best, and they said “heri hapa” (Swahili meaning at least here or blessed is this place). That is how the name of the place came to be called Heri.7

Date When Construction Began

The construction of Heri Adventist Hospital began in 1947 when William Sparrow the architect and constructor designed its master plan. He was assisted by four African constructors from Makamba, Burundi, named: Sauli, Luka Shinganya, Paulo, and Nowa.8

Early Sources of Funding

The construction was funded by missionaries from the United States. Even construction materials and hospital supplies came from there. And the first medical missionaries, Dr. William Taylor, his wife, and two children came from there in 1949.9

Date When the Institution Opened

In 1953 the construction was completed, and the hospital was inaugurated on June 15, 1953. In order for the hospital to run smoothly, more medical missionaries were required to assist Dr. William Taylor. For that reason native medical missionaries from Pare and Mara came to join him. They included Ezekiel Kivunge and his wife Dora Kivunge from Pare, who came as nurses. Also Gideon Katondo and Loyce Katikiro from Majita joined the team of nurses. Another nurse from Pare by the name of Nadi also joined the team. Thereafter, the hospital expanded the mission to other areas by opening dispensaries such as Herujuu, Tabora, Mpanda, Sumbawanga, and Kagunga. Those dispensaries were under the supervision of Heri Mission Hospital.10

The Institution’s Target Group

All people at Manyovu were the beneficiaries of the Heri Adventist Hospital services. The institution targeted the people of the Western part of Tanzania, which at that time was called Tanganyika. There was no reliable medical service in the place; so, the service was very much appreciated. A clinic was opened in June 1949 with Dr. William Taylor in charge and Alice Jensen as nurse. In the same year, work was begun for 20 lepers, and the British colonial government supplied the necessary drugs. The number of lepers later increased to an estimated five hundred, but most of them were outpatients.11

Description of the Early Physical Facilities

In 1953 the physical facilities of the hospital consisted of an administration block, a men’s ward, a women’s ward, a surgical unit with X-ray equipment, an outpatient department, utility buildings, and staff housing. The building was subsequently extended to consist of four wards– female, male, expectant women wards, and semi-private and private rooms.12

Treatment and Care Offered

Leprosy care was started soon after the hospital was established. There was quarantine for lepers. Later leprosy care and treatment were done in collaboration with “TALRES” (Trans Africa Leprosy Rehabilitation and Research Service) of Seventh-day Adventists, under Dr. Ray Foster. Dr. Foster was an orthopedic surgeon with his headquarters in Kafue, Zambia. He regularly flew to do the service in different places in Africa from 197-1975. The surgical service has become the focal point of care at the hospital. The average number of people attended to was 38 per month. Special needs service for the disabled was also provided.13

Heri Adventist Hospital is registered with 97 beds. But it was overwhelmed by a huge number of patients (inpatients) who were admitted each month. The record shows that the average number of patients admitted per month was 355. Besides, per year the average of in- patients was as follows: in 1980–167, 1981–179, 1982–158, 1983–195, 1984–183, and 1985–185.14

Important Leadership Tenures

From 1946–1960 it was under the Southern African Division. Thereafter, the institution was under the Tanganyika Union Mission, later the Tanzania Union Mission. And at the writing of this article it is under the Northern Tanzania Union Conference.15

Major Donations or Sources of Income

Heri Adventist Hospital received funds and donations in terms of money and supplies from different people and organizations. Donations depended on the origin of the serving missionary. Missionaries were also fundraisers. They mobilized resources from their home countries.16 For instance, Sister Tabea Matter (nurse at Heri Adventist Hospital in 1968), a German, donated clothes, medicine, and supplies from Germany. Then Loma Linda University sponsored the development of the institution from 1962–1975. Apart from education, Loma Linda provided supplies for the hospital and clothes for the workers in December each year. Others were James and Ethel Twing (U.S.A.), Dr. Nicholas Ashton (U.S.A.) 1967–1970, Dr. Blaine (U.S.A.), Dr. Sabate (Spain), and Dr. Niels Oster (Denmark).17

Until 2005 Dr. Niels Oster, a Danish American physician, was the medical director of Heri Adventist Hospital. Due to his background, he was able to obtain significant funding from ADRA Denmark and the Government of Denmark for the construction of the hydroelectric power plant and transmission lines.18 Also Dr. Morten Oster and the Lion’s club from Denmark donated supplies to the hospital, office equipment, sponsored the construction of a new maternity ward; they contributed for the solar panels and their installation for emergency electricity during the dry season.19

Willowdale SDA Church from Toronto, Canada, sponsored the construction of three residential houses, a church building, and a brick making machine. Further, ADRA Tanzania sponsored the construction of four residential houses for workers, multipurpose hall, classrooms, and a power- plant machine. Additionally, the hospital is currently sponsored by two unions, Northern Tanzania Union Conference and Southern Tanzania Union Mission, providing one percent of tithe income from both unions, which is allocated to Heri Adventist Hospital.20


There was a partnership between Heri Adventist Hospital and Loma Linda University from 1962 to 1975. Besides, Heri Adventist Hospital is in partnership with the National Health Insurance Fund of Tanzania (NHIF), AAR Insurance, Strategies Insurance, and International Refugee Committee (IRC).21

Schools Associated with the Institution

In 1962 a community health school was established as a constituent of Loma Linda University in the United States. In 1970 the school was remodeled and called Seventh-day Adventist Health Evangelism Seminary under the leadership of C. R. Stafford.22

For many years Heri Adventist Hospital trained at Kendu Hospital in Kenya. But after independence the problems of politics and frontiers discouraged foreigners to study in Kenya. Thus, there seemed to be a need for a college here in Tanzania to prepare nurses in the country. In 1975 a permit was obtained to establish one-year training for nurse assistants. The first group of students graduated in 1977. And since then more than one hundred fifty students have graduated.23

Currently Heri Mission Hospital is operating a nursing school. The nursing school began on October 31, 2014, under the Tanzania Seventh-day Adventist Church. It was established for the purpose of serving the community of Manyovu and Tanzania at large. In November 2014 the number of students who enrolled was 25 (21 males and 4 females). The second group of students was enrolled in November 2015 with 20 students (6 females and 14 males), and in 2016 there were 29 students enrolled (21 males and 8 females).24

Relationship to the City in Which the Institution Is Located

Like in other places in Tanzania, the Adventist Church’s services are appreciated by the people. The community has benefited from the existence of the Heri Hospital in its midst. The Adventists taught people hygiene, wearing clothes instead of skins, and building brick houses. Furthermore, Sparrow taught natives how to burn bricks, plant trees, and worship the true God. Hereafter, Adventism and development went hand in hand. 25

Medical, Spiritual, Economic, and Social Impact of the Institution

The villages around the hospital show development in contrast to the villages far from the hospital. The more you move away from the hospital, the more you experience the developmental differences, with those farther having fewer homes that exhibit exposure. The further one goes from the hospital, there are more poor structures, there are relatively poor agricultural practices, there is little education, and many more differences.26

In 1947 the Nyamasovu primary school was established (I-IV). Petro Kitabo, Petro Marwa from Mara, and Henry and Paulo Watengere from Pare came to work as teachers and evangelists. In 1952 six students passed standard four exams, and they were selected to join Ikizu Middle School. They were as follows: Patrick Hume (Muha), John Dadi (Muha), John Kanyondwi (Muha), Elizabeth Kariga (Muha), Charles Malekela (Muha), and Samson Liniga (from Burundi).

Apart from teaching Petro Kitabo and Petro Marwa and other school teachers were also evangelists. They employed personal and group evangelism. They went house to house to preach the gospel. The villagers were supportive, though they had their own denominations. The first baptism was conducted in 1948. Eight souls were won to Christ. Two of them were ladies. Those were as follows: Enock Magulu, Luka Shinganya, Joyce Nyansatu, Filipo Bushiri, Ezekia Peneza Mlolwa, and others. The second baptism was conducted in 1949. This time twelve souls were won to Christ as follows: Jacob Kagize, Zabron Ntyamalumwe, Willium Nsanze, Reuben Rupoli, Simon Kanyabalaye, Lawi Malekela, Teresia Bihokela, Amon Chamangale, Marium William, and others.27

Due to the fact that medical work and evangelism have been practiced interchangeably, Manyovu became the center of the development of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Kigoma region. As a result, the first church building was dedicated in 1961, and in 1974 the churches around the hospital reached 1,000 members.28

Medical Directors

Dr. William H. Taylor (1949–1958), W. E. Birkenstock (1958–1962), C. L. Wical (1962–1964), C. Blaine (1964–1967), Nicholas Ashton (1967–1970), B. Nelson (1970–1971), James A. Twing (1971–1972), Fariji Mtango (1972–1973), R. G. Thomas (1973–1976), P. L. Ilagumo (1976, 1977), Don N. Holm (1977–1981), Alvin Rocero (1981–1984), Earran Sabate (1984–1986).29 Additionally, Aguido Magdadaro (1986–1988), E. Kraft (1988, 1989), Katondo (1989–1997), Niels Oster (1997–)30 and other recent medical directors: Dr. Rocelo, Rose Llaguno, and Dr. Henry Ine.


“Heri Adventist Hospital.” Accessed on March 23, 2020.

Heri Adventist Hospital. Miaka 40 ya Huduma 1947-1987. Morogoro, Tanzania Adventist Press, 1987.

“Heri Nursing School.” Accessed on March 23, 2020.

Hoeschele, Stefan. Christian Remnant-African Folk Church: Seventh-day Adventism in Tanzania, 1903-1980. Leiden, Brill Publishers, 2007.

Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Washington, D.C. Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1976. S.v. “Heri Mission Hospital,” “Tanzania.”


  1. Efford Pugutu, interview by author, Munanila, June 10, 2017.

  2. Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia (1976), s.v. “Heri Mission Hospital.”

  3. “Heri Adventist Hospital,” accessed on March 23, 2020,

  4. Jacob Kagize, interview by author, Munanila, June 5, 2017.

  5. Ibid.

  6. Stanley Champanda, interview by author, Heri-Munanila, March 17, 2020.

  7. Jacob Kagize, interview by author, Munanila, June 5, 2017.

  8. Ibid.

  9. Stanley Champanda, interview by author, Heri-Munanila, March 17, 2020.

  10. Jacob Kagize, interview by author, Munanila, June 5, 2017.

  11. Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia (1976), s.v. “Heri Mission Hospital.”

  12. “Heri Adventist Hospital,” accessed on March 23, 2020,

  13. Heri Adventist Hospital, Miaka 40 ya Huduma 1947-1987 (Morogoro, Tanzania Adventist Press, 1987), 8-9.

  14. Ibid.

  15. Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia (1976), s.v. “Tanzania.”

  16. Stanley Champanda, interview by author, Heri-Munanila, March 17, 2020.

  17. Ibid.

  18. “Heri Adventist Hospital,” accessed on March 23, 2020,

  19. Faraja Ernest, interview by author, Heri Hospital, March 19, 2020.

  20. Muze Malongoza, interview by author, Heri Hospital, March 17, 2020.

  21. Ibid.

  22. Heri Adventist Hospital, Miaka 40 ya Huduma 1947-1987, 10.

  23. Ibid.

  24. “Heri Nursing School,” accessed on March 23, 2020,

  25. Stefan Hoeschele, Christian Remnant-African Folk Church: Seventh-day Adventism in Tanzania, 1903-1980, (Leiden, Brill Publishers, 2007), 346.

  26. Heri Adventist Hospital, Miaka 40 ya Huduma 1947-1987, 19.

  27. Jacob Kagize, interview by author, Munanila, June 5, 2017.

  28. Heri Adventist Hospital, Miaka 40 ya Huduma 1947-1987 (Morogoro, Tanzania Adventist Press, 1987), 18.

  29. Ibid., 19.

  30. Emmanuel Bulabo, interview by author, Heri Hospital, March 19, 2020.


Mangosongo, Fulgence. "Heri Adventist Hospital." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Accessed June 20, 2021.

Mangosongo, Fulgence. "Heri Adventist Hospital." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Date of access June 20, 2021,

Mangosongo, Fulgence (2021, April 28). Heri Adventist Hospital. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 20, 2021,