Thursday, 27 October 2016

Livingstonia Blantyre Zambia Fellowship 2016

This annual gathering of ex-missionaries took place at St. Cuthberts Church, Lothian Road, Edinburgh, Scotland on Saturday 22nd October 2016.  This is a magnificent venue, in the shadow of the castle rock:

Edinburgh castle

St. Cuthbert himself

This was a different venue from the usual Mayfield Church, Causewayside, Edinburgh, Scotland, which was oversubscribed this year.

 An invited  speaker, from Christian Aid, talked about the Malawi Food Crisis.

Thanks to Secretary David Bone, Friends of Chitambo were invited to hold our usual small stall.

Home baking was a bit of a rush since Jo had only just returned from London at 1 am the same day.   However, some gingerbread was duly produced:

Margaret and Gillian had offered to help and brought a mass of good to sell: Margaret's CDs, Janet's tea towels, and Gillian's attractive cards.  Richard was out trusty driver.  

However, there was a slight crisis on arrival.  Richard's artificial knee joint gave way and he and Jo had to head home for a change of leg!.   Margaret and Gillian kindly set up  the stall and, although Richard and Jo missed the talk, they arrived back in time for questions and  the tea!

Friends of Chitambo stall, L to R, Gillian, Margaret, and speaker from Christina Aid

Thank you to the event organisers for having us again, and to all the generous donors who bought our goods.  These funds will go towards emergency radios at Chitambo's hardest to reach clinics.  That will make a difference.

From Chitambo to Chitambo!

A belated Happy 52nd Anniversary of Zambian Independence everyone (Monday 24th October 2016).

Friends of Chitambo Trustee, Ba Chola, celebrated it by holding a stall in our honour, at his local Independence day celebrations in the English midlands.

Ba Chola and Ba Loveness 'man' the Friends of Chitambo stall

All the more impressive since, although Chola lives and works as a nurse in England, he is from Chitambo originally and is determined to 'give back' to his home community as far as possible.

On a recent re-visit home, where he co-conducted monitoring and evaluation on behalf of our grant-funded project, he became aware that some of the rural health clinics have very little in the way of electricity.  This is very difficult as they may sometimes be delivering babies or dealing with other emergencies by the light of a mobile phone.  Clinic staff indicated  that solar lights would help and the funds raised on Chola's stall will partly go towards this cause.

Twatotela sana mukwai Ba Chola and Ba Loveness and mwabombeni mukwai

This is a wonderful effort and a great example of Zambian Diaspora volunteering on behalf of the motherland

Monday, 24 October 2016

Health is global

Here are brief reports from 3 global health conferences taking place in mid-October 2016:

1. The Zambian UK Health Workforce (ZUKHWA) conference, Zambian Embassy, London, Wednesday 19th October:

This annual conference organised by  the University of Edinburgh Global Health Academy:
 The meeting was well attended by  ZUKHWA members, UK-Zambians and others and was jointly chaired by the Zambian High Commissioner, His Excellency Mr. Muyeba Chikonde, and Lord Nigel Crisp, Independent member of the House of Lords/Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health.

Keynote speakers included Dr, Peter Mwaba, Permanent Secretary for Health, Ministry of Health, Zambia, and Professor Evarist Njelesani, Deputy Vice-Chancellor/Founding Dean, Lusaka Apex Medical University.  Unfortunately, Dr. Mwaba was unable to attend and Ms. Eunice Sinyemu, THET-Zambia Country Manager, stepped in at very short notice to give an overview of Zambian health policy.  This was a most enjoyable day.

2. The Tropical Health Education Trust (THET) annual conference followed on from ZUKHWA, on Thursday 20th and Friday 21st October:

 It was held at the Resource of London, Holloway, London. The theme was 'Evidence, effectiveness and impact' and the packed programme was opened by keynote presentations from: Dr Jim Campbell, Director of the Health Workforce Department, WHO; Hon Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, State Minister for Health - Primary Health Care, Uganda; and Rory Stewart, OBE MP FRSL, Minister of State for International Development.

The emphasis was on North/South health partnerships.  There were many excellent breakout sessions and speakers and THET launched a new report,  'In our mutual interest', advocating the mutual benefits of global health links:

3. The Association of Health Information and Libraries in Africa (AHILA) conference was taking place simultaneously, at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda (Monday 17th to Friday 21st October):

 By a miracle, our Zambian project partners, Consider and Vincent, were presenting the same paper and poster on the same day at almost the same time as FoCh Chair, Jo, was presenting these at the ZUKHWA conference in London!  If that is not Co-development and Mutuality, what is?!  

Here are links to our joint paper which is about knowledge translation:

WhatsApp communications were flying between the 2 venues (London and Kampala).  Here are some photos:

Jo presents the poster in London 

Consider presents the poster in Kampala

Friday, 14 October 2016

Going viral?

Is our Scottish Government Small Grant project on 'Strengthening emergency care communications in Chitambo District, Zambia' going viral?  Partners are attending 3 global health conferences in one week and presenting at 2.   These conferences are:
Consider (In-country Project Coordinator) and Vincent (Information Officer) will be delivering the following paper at the AHILA conference on Wednesday 19th October: Ugandan confernece paper

This will be to an erudite international audience of health librarians and information scientists.  Friends of Chitambo Chair/Grant Lead, Jo, will be delivering the same paper to the ZUKHWA audience (which includes the Zambian High Commissioner, Lord Crisp, and the Zambian Permanent Secretary for Health!) on the same day, at a very slightly later time.

We are investigating ways of linking up by WhatsApp, so that Consider and Vincent can deliver their paper themselves to the London as well as the Ugandan audience. 

We will all, simultaneously, also be presenting the following project poster:Click here for the poster

Conference photos to follow.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

NIDOS Annual Conference: Scotland for a Fairer World

2 Trustees attended the NIDOS ( conference, 'Scotland for a Fairer World', on Thursday 29th September, Pollock Halls of Residence, University of Edinburgh: Click here for the conference programme

This was an opportunity to meet the new Scottish Minister for International Development, Alasdair Allan, MSP; to hear about the new NIDOS strategy 'Envisions 2020'; to vote in a new name for NIDOS (SINDA: Scottish International Development Association); to network with like minded people...but most of all to witness our Friend of Chitambo (Foch) Trustee, Agnes, being 'inaugurated' as a Trustee of NIDOS/SINDA.

Ba Agnes inaugurated as NIDOS Trustee
This was  a very proud moment for Foch as we now have 2 African Diaspora committee members in positions within Scotland's top International Development organisations.  Earlier in the year, our Acting Treasurer, Olu, who is originally from Nigeria, was appointed to a finance post at the Scotland Malawi Partnership (SMP), and now Agnes as a NIDOS Trustee. 

It was also thrilling to hear the Minister recognising Scotland's close historical links with Zambia, including that although Dr. David Lvingstone is often associated with Malawi, he actually spent more of his life in what is now Zambia, and died Chitambo.  Well, at Old Chitambo (Chipundu, where the Livingstone monument is).  Chitambo Hospital was built in his memory, 100 miles away in less malarial territory...and still going today.  You'll not I do not say 'still going strong' because  that's the rub.  Despite it's huge historical connections with Scotland, Chitambo Hospital remains totally under resourced today.

The Minister particularly asked to meet groups which had Scottish Government Small Grant funds for projects in countries other than Malawi.  Scotland has a 'special relationship' with Malawi and the Minister is off to Malawi this week.  Hopefully he will be visiting  Zambia is amongst the 4 new partner countries to be supported by Scottish Government funding: Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda, and Pakistan.  Click here for the Ministerial announcement: Ministerial announcement

The conference ended with an evening reception, including wonderful African storytelling and singing from Zawadi Choir.  The morale of one story was 'be careful what bones you throw out of your window'.  A woman, making soup, unthinkingly chucked the soup bone out of the window, unwittingly escalating full scale war between 2 villages.  A salutary lesson for us all?

Zawadi Choir entertains us

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

This is why

Please see this sad news on the Mwebantu Facebook page:

A bad accident on the Mansa Road, in Chitambo District, has left 3 people dead and others, including a child, seriously injured.  Victims were apparently rushed to Mpelembe Rural Health Clinic (RHC), the nearest health facility.

Mpelembe is the biggest of Chitambo District's 3 'hard to reach' clinics in the Bangwelu Swamps, where David Livingstone died.  The other 2 are Gibson and Chipundu.

They have no mobile phone connectivity and depend on dysfunctional radios to make contact with the hospital (100 miles away on terrible roads) in case of such emergencies.  So how it was possible to rush injured people there is a mystery and, once there, they would face a 6 hour delay before an ambulance could get them to under-resourced, understaffed Chitambo District Hospital.

They might then face another 200 to 300 mile transfer to provincial or central emergency care services.  What are their chances? 

This is exactly why we are supporting Chitambo partner's ambition to strengthen emergency care communications in this remote and rural area.  High frequency digital radios are desperately needed at the 3 above mentioned 'hard to reach' clinics.  They cost in the region of £2,500 each.  We have raised enough for one but any help with raising the other 2 would be greatly appreciated. 

Please see our Total Giving donations button on this page, if you think you can help

We are 3!

Our AGM marked our 3rd birthday and we were in party mood, celebrating our many achievements over the year.

11  people, (7 committee members and 4 visitors), attended the meeting in the community  room at the Penicuik Library, Midlothian, Scotland.

10 people attended in person and one Shadow Trustee, Chola, attended by WhatsApp phone link when we were unable to access Skype.

 Chola is a nurse based in England.  However, he is from Chitambo originally and is dedicated to supporting the charity in whatever ways possible.

On his recent re-visit to Zambia, he joined forces with Consider , In-country Project Coordinator for our Scottish Government Small Grant project, on conducting a very successful Monitoring and Evaluation visit for the project (See our previous post on this below).

Of our 4 visitors, 2 are members and one has now opted to become one.  The former are Dr. and Mrs  Moffat.  Dr. Moffat is the grandson of David Livingston's nephew, Malcolm Moffat, who founded Chitambo Hospital (pictured).  The Moffats came with their South African cousin, who now is lives with them.

The 4th visitor is a local gentleman who knows Zambia well, having lived and worked there, and was interested to hear more about our charity work.

216 AGM: Committee members and visitors

Ba Mayo Margaret, Trustee, with FoCh banner
Here are some further photos courtesy of our Trustee and new Secretary, Agnes:

Click here for the Chair's report and Presentation: Chair's Report & Presentation

A particular thank you to our External Examiner, Ngemi, for agreeing our annual accounts. 
We are most grateful for his expert services.

And a  very big thank you to all our other Trustees, Members, Friends and Supporters who are contributing to making a difference at Chitambo, Zambia