Monday, 9 October 2017

Bridget's account


A group of Friends of Chitambo Hospital recently visited Chitambo. Scottish members were: Jo Vallis, chairperson, Julie Davidson, patron, and her daughter, Catherine, Alison Smart, lecturer in nursing studies at Napier University, and Bridget Innes a semi-retired GP. Zambian partners were Consider Mudenda, in-country co-ordinator; Levi Chifwaila, former senior nurse lecturer at Chitambo School of Nursing, now at Kabwe; and Emma Ndalameta Theo, a medical librarian from the University of Zambia.

The main aims were to attend a first aid workshop aimed mainly for ambulance drivers and front line clinical staff, and to check on the new radios in the rural health clinics without mobile phone connection. We left Lusaka with a heavily loaded vehicle, picking Emma up, en route. Consider ably drove the long journey to Chitambo. 


Julie Davidson, FoCH Patron, with Catherine (L), Alison R) and Levi (behind)
L to R, Consider, Jo, Alison, Levi, and Julie

The main aims were to attend a first aid workshop aimed mainly for ambulance drivers and front line clinical staff, and to check on the new radios in the rural health clinics without mobile phone connection. We left Lusaka with a heavily loaded vehicle, picking Emma up, en route. Consider ably drove the long journey to Chitambo. 



Loading up for the journey to Chitambo

Chitambo Hospital 2017

The 3 day First Aid Workshop was run by Levi. The talks were given by Levi, members of Chitambo’s clinical team, a surgeon from the trauma unit at Kabwe hospital, Alison and Emma. Chitambo has recently been supplied with two new fully equipped ambulances; the drivers had not been shown how to use the equipment, and we keen to learn. There was also time to speak to other members of staff to discuss future developments. A doctor and technician from the Flying Doctor service visited to discuss the new radios, which they had supplied, and suggestions for further equipment.



Some of us also took the opportunity to visit some of the distant clinics. Consider checked the radios, and Emma introduced the staff to tablets which have heen downloaded with clinical information. 

Consider one of the new emergency radios supplied by FoCH

Emma demonstrates use of a tablet pc

We were pleased to see that the Life Wrap treatment for post partum bleeding, supplied by FoCH, were in the clinics. One of these clinics is over 100km from the hospital, the last 16km being along a single track causeway through swamp. Fortunately it was fairly dry at this time of year, but in the rainy season it is sometimes submerged and the journey for ambulances is very difficult. The clinic serves a population of almost 7,000, but currently is staffed by only a newly qualified nurse and a health care assistant, with the help of volunteer community health workers. Two women were in labour during our visit. In another clinic, close to the village where David Livingstone died, there were no lights as the new staff did not know how to obtain bulbs for the solar lights.


Remote Rural Health Clinic

Motorbike ambulance in use at the above clinic

Ambulance driver and simulated patient

Children served by the above clinic

The team made a lot of useful new contacts and have ideas to take forward to help communication and emergency treatment in the Chitambo district.


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