Thursday, 21 December 2017

Happy Christmas and New Year

Dear Friends of Chitambo Members and Supporters,
Happy Christmas and a very good New year to come.  

Thank you for all your help and support over the year.  We have covered a lot of ground, both through general charity work and Scottish Government Small Grant activities.  Here  are some of the highlights:
2 African partners, including our Zambian Project Coordinator, Mr. Consider Mudenda, came to Scotland in June.  Consider delivered a conference poster at a Medial Librarian conference in Dublin, on behalf of the Chitambo Emergency Care project.  Scottish partners, including myself, our charity Patron, Julie Davidson,  her daughter Catherine, and Friends of Chitambo volunteers Alison Smart and Bridget Innes,  then traveled to Chitambo in September, to take part in a project monitoring visit and a First Aid workshop for ambulance crews.  Levi Chifwaila, Senior Nurse Tutor (now at Kabwe School of Nursing but with a long track record at Chitambo), designed and delivered the workshop, assisted by senior  Kabwe surgeon, Dr. Nkuliyi-Ngoma, Chitambo Medical Officer, Dr. Mwamba, and Friends of Chitambo volunteer, Alison Smart, who is a Nurse Lecturer and Edinburgh's Napier University, Scotland.  This workshop was a great success and many very useful contacts were made.

Our great sadness was losing our Honorary President, Janet Knox, who passed away in March this year.  Janet was a nursing sister at Chitambo in the 1960s and was one of our most ardent supporters.  It was lovely that Levi Chifwaila honoured her memory with a moment' silence, at the opening of the First Aid workshop.  Levi met Janet when he came to Scotland in 2015, as part of the grant project, and they became good friends.

Providing scholarships support for deprived student nurses was Janet's brainchild and we continue her legacy.   'Our' 2 current Friends of Chitambo Nurse Training Scholarship students have just sat their final exams and will graduate next year.  Mr. Kasoka, Principal Tutor, and team, are in the process of identifying new students for our support.  As a result of wonderful new donors, we are able to to increase this support to 3 students next year and are awaiting detail of who they will be.  The students will be supported over the full 3 years of their Registered Nurse training.  Janet's family and friends are major financial contributors to this and other activities.

We ring fence £1,000 a year as a contribution to ambulance maintenance, much needed in this remote, rugged region and, thanks to your donations,  will shortly forward next year's contribution.

We have provided a variety of emergency care resources, including books, tablet and desktop pcs, and smartphones and are helped by skilled information (knowledge) scientists in making this information available to healthcare staff at the point of care.   Also, thanks to grant funds and your substantial private donations, we have provided 4 Very High Frequency (VHF) emergency radios for some of Chitambo District's 'hardest to reach' Rural health Clinics.  These were installed by the Zambian Flying Doctor Service, who maintain the radios, and are working well with potential for saving many lives.  

Dr. Bridget Innes, a semi-retired Scottish GP with experience of medical volunteering in South Africa and Zambia, is working with Chitambo health partners on developing  emergency care protocols and guidelines on issues such as DRS/ABC, postpartum hemorrhage, and use of the non-pneumatic anti-shock garments (Life Wraps) which we donated to Chitambo.  The latter are first aid garments for control of haemorrhage in childbirth.    They were recommended by Chitambo doctors.  However, staff need to be regularly trained in their use and the protocols will help.

The above activities  are supported by all your donations and much hard fundraising work at the Scottish end.  Our local Scottish Trustees have been the mainstay of fundraising activities.  We have also had help from wonderful new volunteers such as Jenny Bailey, a very high flying young Nurse Practitioner trainee.  Jenny has volunteered as a nurse in Tanzania and, although so busy with her current training, found  time to help with our successful Penicuik Christmas  Fair stall.  Her Mum, Lou, also a highly experienced nurse, also contributed, including making many beautiful crafts for sale.  We raised £355 on the stall and, together with your membership fees and many generous donations, are in a good position to continue our above activities over the next year.  Our Acting Treasurer, Olu Sodipo, and our Independent Examiner, Ngeme Ntuli (both trained, experienced Accountants) are a tremendous help in managing our financial affairs.