Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Chitambo School of Nursing: The final results are out!

The reuslts of Chitambo School of Nursing's first student intake's final exams are out. Mr. Levi Chifwaila, Senior Nurse Tutor, explains: “24 students sat for exam. The exam was in three parts. Paper 1, that is medicine and medical nursing and paediatrics (that 's the course I teach and all students passed paper 1); paper 2 is surgery and reproductive health. 3 students failed that one and the last one is practical. 3 students failed. 6 failed in total and 18 passed.” This is pretty good going for two very over-stretched Nurse Tutors, particularly given that 7 of the 27 students who enrolled in the first intake were described as particulraly under privileged.

Zambia votes in the presidential elections

Following the death of President Michael Sata, in October 2013, Zambian's went to the polls yesterday to vote for a successor: Chitambo Friends have been in touch to say that they have voted 'wisely and well'. Other Friends of Chitambo, in Lusaka, have told of heavy rains affecting voter turn out. Despite this, let's hope that whoever comes to power will continue to have Zambia's (and Chitambo's) best health interests at heart. We are waiting the news with bated breath.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Chitambo health staff need quality education for their children

A major consideration for skilled health staff and other community members in rural areas, like Chitambo, is how to educate their children. Local government schools can be under resourced and distance alternatives are costly or unavailable.

Chitambo contacts are keen to establish a small, high quality school where they can be sure that their children are getting a quality education whilst living in this rural area. This is not a luxury but a serious priority. Well qualified health staff make a big sacrifice in opting for rural experience. However dedicated they are, they are taking risks both in terms of their children's exposure to serious diseases such as malaria and the quality of their education. Helping them overcome these problems could contribute to their long term retention in the area. They have already established a small pre-school for younger Chitambo children and are seeking the means to extend this to primary school education. There are good models to be seen elsewhere in Zambia, such MICS primary school at Macahworks, Southern Province:

Chitambo needs help to develop a similar model. Please, if you are a secret millionaire and/or have expertise in the field of education, we would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

News just in from Chitambo

60 new student students have commenced their Registered Nurse training at the Chitambo School of Nursing. They comprise the school's second intake. New building undertaken by the Zambian Government, including a second student hostel,has enabled these expanded student numbers. Very best wishes to the new recruits and their teachers for a very successful start to the training. This will make a big difference to healthcare at Chitambo and in rural Zambia generally.

Some wonderful news!

The icing on the Christmas fundraising cake came when Jo's colleague, Heather, at NHS Education for Scotland (NES: announced that she wished to sponsor 2 nurse training scholarships at Chitambo, for particularly needy student nurses!

Following the Christmas Street Fair, Jo had brought remaining items (jars of festive plum and orange jam)to work and left them in the kitchen, along with leaflets about Friends of Chitambo. This attracted a little small change, which was welcome. However, it seems that Heather had read the leaflet in detail and explored our blogsite. She and her husband, John, are keen to support a grassroots charity with genuine, local connections. That way, they will know where their donations are going.

Being a nurse by background, Heather was particularly drawn to the idea of supporting nurse training. She is now a leading light in Postgraduate Medical Education for Primary Care, in Scotland. There is potential for picking her brains over educational matters in support of Chitambo School of Nursing and Mr. Kasoka, Principal Tutor, has welcomed this idea. Meantime, a very big thank you to Heather and John for their enormous generosity. It will make a big difference to nurse training at Chitambo.

December fundraisers

The first weekend in December was hectic for Scottish Trustees, with 2 fundraising events. On Saturday 6th, 'stalwarts' Margaret, Gilian and Jo, helped by 'new blood' members Charlotte and Hilary, ran 3 stalls at the Penicuik Street Fair. Charlotte and Hilary proved themselves natural fundraisers, including dab hands at running the Tombola stall, selling raffle tickets, and presiding over the children's Lucky Dip. We had masses of raffle prizes, including a giant Christmas hamper and a wonderful CD by celebrity singer Emeli Sande.

Did you know she is part Zambian, part Scottish? Emeli was born in Glasgow, to a Scottish mother and Zambian father. She grew up in rural Aberdeenshire and studied medicine before finding her niche as a singer. We would love her to become a Patron of our organisation. Her new album,Our Version of Events, was one of our raffle prizes and it was won by our Trustee, Hilary (pictured below, 3rd photo down)! Our emphasis was on fundraising for 2 further Nurse Training Scholarships (around £500/5,000 Zambia Kwachas each). A generous donor has sponsored one whole Scholarship. Scottish Friends are fundraising for the other.

A second event, highlighted by our Trustee Nicola, was a sponsored Christmas walk/run in central Edinburgh. Nicola (young and fit!) ran the 6K course. Jo (pictured below) walked it with her Dutch walking friend Toos, who has recently holidayed in Malawi and Zambia. She really enjoyed Zambia and was thrilled with South Luangwa national park. After the walk, Jo and Toos wandered in Edinburgh's beautiful Botanic Gardens and, on a giant map of the world, Jo pointed out where Chitambo is in relation to Luangwa Valley. What a small world!

Sponsorship came pouring in. Thanks to Nicola for the bright sponsorship idea and to all our other Trustees for their hard work in supporting these events.

Street Fair and sponsored walk photos: