Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Are you a doer with an interest in Africa?

 If yes to the above question, then we need you!
We are a small Scottish registered charity which supports health projects at Chitambo Hospital, central Zambia. This hospital is the living memorial to Scottish explorer/missionary Dr. David Livingstone who died there. It was founded in his memory (1908). Please see the information links below.*
Following our recent visit to Chitambo, in conjunction with the Scottish Government Ministerial visit (February 2018) we are seeking new Board Members with the passion and drive to help further our exciting new strategic directions and expanding agenda. Working alongside like-minded people, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are making a real difference where it is most needed.
These are voluntary positions. In particular, we are seeking people with organisational, administrative, communications and fundraising skills. Ideally, you will be based in South East Scotland (Midlothian or Edinburgh) and/or able to attend bi-monthly Board meetings (usually held on Saturdays 2-4pm, in Penicuik or Edinburgh) as well as actively contributing to development and running of sub-committees. Knowledge and experience of Sub-Saharan Africa would be a bonus but anyone with relevant organisational skills will be equally welcome.
Please contact me, Jo Vallis, Chair, if interested and/or forward this message to anyone else you know who may be interested:

Emergency Guideline Gurus

Thanks to Friends of Chitambo Trustee, Dr. Bridget Innes, and the Chitambo Hospital Guidelines Group, 10 sets of emergency care guidelines have now been completed for posting in hospital and clinics. The latest are on management of diabetic emergencies (high and low blood sugar). The tricky part is knowing exactly what resources (drugs, intravenous fluids etc.) are available locally, especially at remote rural clinics. On that, we depend on the local team for information.


Anti shock garment (Life Wrap) guidelines

Diabetic emergency guidelines

Emergency care decision support workshop, Lusaka, Zambia

10 health care librarians/information scientists, including 3 from Zimbabwe, one from South Africa, and one from Chitambo, are poised to attend a Knowledge Broker Champion (decision-support) workshop in Lusaka (17 to 19th April 2018), as part of our Scottish Government Small Grant project on 'strengthening emergency care communications.' Participants will learn how to enable front line health care staff to use best emergency care evidence in practice, at the point of care.  
Such decision support is a recognised priority within the Zambian National Health Strategic Plan 2017 to 2021:

Chitambo Nutrition Programme

Calling all small Scottish NGOs which deal in food poverty or nutrition programmes in Scotland! We need your help!  Are you interested to link with Friends of Chitambo and Chitambo Hospital, central Zambia, on a Scottish Government Small Grant application for nutrition improvement in Chitambo District?
The need is great and hospital Nutritionist, Mr. Brian Mwense, is striving to meet it single handed. Please help him.
Please email Jo Vallis, Chair, for more information:

FoCH Trustee, Consider Mudenda, highlights Chitambo Nutrition Department

A community of light

FoCH Trustee, Consider Mudenda, is in Chitambo District with solar power providers Synwave Power Zambia (, delivering on the agenda proposed during the Scottish Government Ministerial visit in February. He can hardly contain his excitement:
"Now we have an implementation plan, now we know what we want for each Clinic and Chitambo Hospital. Now we realize how close we are to fulfillment of our dream of lighting up Chitambo District with solar energy! Come May 2018 all is expected to be accomplished! And we will have a community of light!
Thank you Chitambo District for proposing the solar power need. Thank you First Aid Africa (FAA) for pioneering and engineering the move, and thank you Friends of Chitambo (FoCH) for directing this expertise to us and standing by us from start to the point when it will be said, it is done!"
Thank you.too, to Scottish Government for enabling this initiative which will make a real difference to health care delivery in this remote and rural region.  And thank you, of course, to Consider, for being the man on the ground committed to making this happen.

The ideal to aim for

Assessing the situation at Chitambo Hospital

Assessing the situation at Rural Health Clinics

Resting and discussing

Sunday, 4 March 2018

All Nurses Rock but the best are from Chitambo!

Graduating Chitambo student nurses with their course tutor, Mr. Levi Chifwaila, enjoying their farewell party. More well trained nurses?
What a gift to Zambia!

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Graduating Chitambo students

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Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): Global Health and Disability

Friends of Chitambo is immensely proud to report that our Trustee Richard Vallis is undertaking this Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Global Health and Disability, delivered by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine:CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS
As a person with long experience of voluntary work with people with disabilities, and a disabled person himself, Richard is an ideal participant. Other participants are worldwide and Richard's learning is sure to serve our work at Chitambo well.
Richard is making invaluable contacts for Friends of Chitambo, including within Vision Aid Zambia:

FoCH Trustee, Richard Valllis

FoCH Trustees at the heart of Scottish Government consultations in Zambia

Friends of Chitambo are so proud  to report that our Zambian Trustees, Mr. Consider Mudenda, In-country Project Coordinator, and  Mr. Levi Chifwaila, Senior Nurse Tutor, were at the heart of the recent Scottish Government Ministerial visit to Zambia, providing help and consultation to the visiting team.

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Consider at Latitude 15, Lusaka

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Lusaka meeting
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First Aid Africa meeting 
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Kabwe meeting

A New Friend

The wonders of technology have brought us a new friend, Dr Andrea Arrington, Professor of African Studies at Indiana State University, USA. Andrea is a prolific academic writer and has recently published a book on the Victoria Falls. She is currently reading 'our' book ,'Livingstones's Hospital: the Story of Chitambo' (pictured) and hopes to visit Chitambo this year. She has been communicating with Friends of Chitambo in Zambia about that. Greetings Andrea and thanks for befriending us!

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Livingstone's Hospital ...with Ziva!

Please see a link to Dr. Andrea Arrington's new book 'Turning Water into Gold': CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION ON THE BOOK

Scottish Government woes Bill Gates over Global Health links

How about this?! Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, informing American entrepreneur/philanthropist Bill Gates about NHS Scotlands global health itiatives.
Hoping there will be some good synergy there?
America has done so much for Chitambo, funding the rebuilding of the school of nursing and building a state of the art orphanage and primary school. These are transformative changes. Good if the hospital could get the same makeover some day.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, with Bill Gates and Alasdair Allan, MSP
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New website for FoCH

Friends of Chitambo is to have a facelift! FOCH member Alison Smart, Nurse Lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland, has a friend, Sophie, who has agreed to make us a website! Sophie has a Marketing and International Relations background, making her the perfect person to help strengthen our public image. Our blog site, created by Trustee Catriona Macmillan, has served us well but we really need a full website now, to host our growing profile and capture public interest.
Thank you Alison, Sophie and Catriona for your valuable contributions. We are lucky to have such talented people on board.

FoCH participates in Scottish Government Ministerial visit to Zambia (February 2018)

The FoCH team was privileged to participate in the Scottish Government Ministerial visit to Zambia (9th to 15th February 2018), including attending a church service with the Ministerial party, at the United Church of Zambia (UCZ), Kabwe (Sunday 11th February), and presenting our Small Grant project work at a symposium on Monday 12th February.  

Church service:
FoCH members joined Dr Alasdair Allan MSP and other members of Scottish Government, as well as UCZ Education and Health Secretaries ,Mr. and Mrs. Keith and Ida Waddell, at the UCZ service and subsequent lunch.

The sermon, delivered by the UCZ Bishop, was on the theme of love. It is love and human heartedness, rather than self adulation, which will make the most difference in this life.
The singing was wonderful

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Dr. Alasdair Allan, Minister for International Affairs (Scotland)  and Team

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FoCH Trustees Jo Vallis and Consider Mudenda

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Dr. Allan addresses the congregation

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Consider Mudenda chatted with Dr. Allan

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Lunchtime lineup

Wonderful to meet so many Chitambo contacts in Kabwe, at church and in the conference. These included Mrs. Miriam Chisulo (pictured), daughter of the late Mr. Morton Chisulo, Chitambo MP, and sister to FoCH member Dezzy Chisulo, now nursing in Bristol, England.

Miriam, also a nurse, started her training at Chitambo in 1970.

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Chitambo links in Kabwe: Mrs. Miriam Chisulo, Choir Member

The FoCH team presented at the Scottish Government Symposium, Saals Farm near Kabwe (Monday 12th February). An event graced by 3 Ministers: Dr Alasdair Allan MSP; the Honourable Minister for Central Province (name to follow); and Honourable Minister for Community Development/Mother and Child Health, Mrs. Kabanshi.
Other groups included Christian Aid; SCIAF; First Aid Africa; Bite Cure; ZEST; World Wide Fund for Nature; and Aquatera. These were all recipients of large grant funding.
We were the smallest and the only representatives of Chitambo District.
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FoCH Team present at the Kabwe Symposium:
R to L: Emma Theo; Levi Chifwaial; Consider Mudenda; Jo Vallis
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Dr Allan opens the Symposium

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Our stall


FoCH is beginning some nice synergy with First Aid Africa (FAA): FoCH's deep roots and valuable contacts in Zambia/Chitambo and FAA's bigger financial muscles, we can make progress especially on activating the much needed Zambian shortcode number for health (992). This will give all Chitambo District citizens free access to emergency medical help and advice..

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FoCH Trustee Levi Chifwaila with Sam Abrahams, CEO First Aid Africa

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FoCH Trustee Consider Mudenda, with Sam Abrahams

FoCH meets with Honorable Minister Mrs. Emerine Kabanshi

FoCH Trustee Consider Mudenda:and Jo Vallis had tie great privilege to meet with the Honorable Minister for  Community Development and Social Welfare, Mrs Emerine Kabanshi, at her Lusaka office, on Wednesday 14th February 2018.  They were able to share their vision of of 'a healthier Chitambo District' and learn about the Minister's interest in Chitambo District and passion for community engagement and inclusiveness.  

Of particular interest was the Minister's experience of fundraising through a sponsored cycle ride, by a youth group, from Lusaka to Samfya (Luapula Province). This was supported by Zambian businesses and raised funds for community development activities such as the Zambian Social Cash Transfer Scheme.

We look forward to a fruitful year of collaboration and learning in support of Chitambo District.

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A cordial meeting with Honorable Minister for Community Development, Mrs. Emerine Kabanshi

Zambia: the long reach of David Livingstone

See this great article about Chitambo, written by our Patron, Julie Davidson, that was published in the Sunday Herald: CLICK HERE FOR THE ARTICLE

Historic visit of Scottish Government to Chitambo Hospital

Historic visit of Scottish Government to Chitambo Hospital and District (16-18th February), Central Province, Zambia. This could open doors to more help for the historic 'Livingstones's Hospital'.
Joanna Keating, Head of International Development, and Judith Ballentine, Zambia Programme Manager, were accompanied by Sam Abrahams, CEO, First Aid Africa.
FoCH team members Jo Vallis, Consider Mudenda and Levi Chifwaila were also present as part of their Scottish Government Small Grant project on 'Strengthening emergency care communications' in the area.

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Historic visit of Scottish Government Officials to Chitambo Hospital (February 2018)

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Scotland at Chitambo
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Chitambo values its Scottish history

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Touring the hospital

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Old anaesthetic machine: dysfunctional

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Patient toilets in need of refurbishment

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Typical ward

FoCH team project monitoring and evaluation visit to Chitambo District

Visits to Rural Health Clinics:
FoCH team h visited 10 out of 11 rural health clinics on behalf of our Small Grant project on emergency care communications. We met key staff ...all young, eager, and dynamic despite working in some very challenging circumstances  and interviewed 17 staff about Knowledge into Action aspects (use of books and digital information provided by the project, as well as sharing of health information between colleagues and accessing our expert medical librarian services for additional support).


There was evidence, at all clinics,  of the emergency care guidelines designed by FoCH member Dr Bridget Innes, in collaboration with Dr Mwamba and colleagues at Chitambo Hospital. Thanks to Mr Mununga, Clinical Officer, and Mr. Zombe, Registered Nurse (Emergency Response) these are being posted up in all 11 rural health clinics as well as at Chitambo Hospital.

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Emergency care guidelines posted on clinic walls
There was also much evidence of uptake and usage of the books and digital resources provided by our project, thanks largely to the efforts of Matron Milimo in keeping track of these, and to Emma Theo, Medical Librarian, University of Zambia (UNZA) in providing Knowledge Broker support.
All staff interviewed reported being very interested in keeping up to date through use of books and digital (computer) resources. The recent influx of new, young dynamic staff is contributing to this.

Books in evidence at teh clinics

We also interviewed them about emergency radio services, particularly the functioning of the 4 Very High Frequency (VHF) radios provide by the project and noted any gaps in effectiveness of radio messaging.
We also checked on solar power needs to augment Consider Mudenda's existing report on this through direct sight of needs on the ground.
Everywhere we were astonished by the capability of the health teams and their well organised systems...lacking only in terms of resources.

Challenges of health delivery in Chitambo district:
During our visit to the remotest Gibson Rural Health Clinic, a sick child was admitted suffering from malaria, severe anaemia, and asthma. The clinic did not have any oxygen on site. However an intravenous drip is established with Aminophylline added. Even with the new VHF radio provided by our project, the health team was unable to reach the nearest neighbouring clinic, Mpelembe, to refer the child to hospital.
We were going to Mpelembe next, ourselves, but ruled out taking the child for safety reasons. When we got there we informed the staff to call Gibson. However, the ambulance was already out on another case. These are the challenges faced by rural health staff, in managing emergency cases. However we heard the next day that the child did eventually reach hospital.

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Sick child

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Gibson to Mpelembe, Gibson to Mpelembe.  Do you read?  Over and out

Meetings with Chitambo Hospital Health Leads:
We interviewed a further 14 hospital staff on the same above issues (use of knowledge resources and radio functioning).

We also, on  20th February 2018, met with Chitambo Hospital Health Leads  regarding their perceived support needs and where Friends of Chitambo could contribute in future.  This was  avery positive and insightful meeting, forming a base for strategic planning for future engagement.   A Strategic Planning WhatsApp group was formed to strengthen the friendship  ties between Zambia and Scotland.

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Friends of Chitambo meet with Chitambo Health Leads

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Group photo

Travelling challenges: Rough roads and rainy season! Rain brings out snakes. We saw 3 snakes on the road in one day. Clinic staff said they were getting lots of cases of snake bite but invariably snake bite serum had run out.

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Small blue snake on the road

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Nail in the tyer, time for a change

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Mr. Boniface Kapilia, Head Driver, to the rescue...Natotela sana mukwai (thank you!)

Torrential rain