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Thursday, 11 August 2016

Zambia goes to the polls today

Wishing all Zambians the very best for a good and peaceful outcome in today's general elections.
Lesa Amupale

Historic meeting in Chesterfield, England

Friends of Chitambo (FoCh) is full of wonderful surprises including a recent historic meeting between Trustees, in the England Peak District.

Mr. Chola Mwelwa, FoCh Trustee, is from Chitambo but currently living with his family near Chesterfield, England.   Chola and his wife, Loveness, are both nurses in the area.

Jo Vallis, FoCh Chair, and her husband Richard and sister Marion (visiting from New Zealand) took the opportunity to call on the Mwelwa family when visiting their younger sister who lives in the area.

Jo and Richard Vallis with Chola, Loveness and youngest Mwelwa son, Mumba

The Mwelwas' home is situated in a quiet suburb overlooking vast fields of corn.  It was magical to meet the family and sit in their lovely living room drinking tea, eating tumbua (Zambian doughnuts), and reminiscing about Chitambo.

Chola, Loveness and their youngest son, Mumba (pictured in his Zambia shirt), are heading to Zambia this month and are kindly taking some items for us.  These include our grant project conference poster for presentation at the AHILA conference, Uganda, by Zambian partners Vincent and Consider (October 2016).  Items also include a memory stick containing a health e-library, kindly donated by Scottish NGO MACAI:  This is for an emergency care resource centre requested by Chitambo partners and funded by our Scottish Government Small Grant project.

As a project Steering Group member, Chola is invaluable and his visit home to Chitambo provides the ideal opportunity for him to link with In-country Project Lead, Mr. Consider Mudenda, on some project monitoring and evaluation.

The visit to Family Mwelwa also provided the opportunity for a book signing!  Jo Vallis had given Chola a copy of her sister Marion's book 'Livingstone's Hospital: the Story of Chitambo'....a history o Chitambo Hospital.  Chola had been astonished to read about many familiar names and places and requested that Marion sign the book.  This also made her day!

God speed to the Mwelwa family, and especially to young Mumba, who last visited Zambia when he was only 4 years old (8 years ago).  Although he is now a young Englishman, he should be very proud of his Zambian and Chitambo heritage.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

A very successful event

A surprising amount of work goes into organising a simple lunchtime talk!

However, it more than paid off and our Elephant & Baby talk on Saturday 25th June, was a great success. 

Held in Edinburgh's busy Grassmarket area, at the height of the tourist season, it attracted an audience of around 25 varied and interesting people. 

Our aim was fundraising for emergency radios for Chitambo District's hardest to reach  Rural Health Clinics.  These are Mpelembe, Gibson and Chipundu, in the Bangwelu Swamps, where Dr. David Livingstone died: CHITAMBO CLINICS

These clinics have no mobile phone connectivity and rely on faulty old radios to make contact with Chitambo Hospital,  in case of medical emergency.  The multiple delays involved cost lives.

Providing  a high quality digital radio to any one of these clinics will cost around £2,000.  This may see a lot but will be worth the cost because the clinics will then be able to call the hospital direct, rather than going through several intermediary routes.

Batteries and voltage regulators for the digital radios cost an additional £186. 

The Grassmarket Community Centre (CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION)
is the perfect venue for an event, with a sizeable, modern hall and very helpful staff to help the event to run smoothly.  As a charity, we qualified for a substantial reduction in hire fees. 

Refreshments: Our own highly talented and capable Friends of Chitambo (Foch) members and Trustees met our guests and pointed them to tea and coffee.  2 huge boxes of elephant biscuits, donated by Edinburgh Old Town cafĂ© Elephants & Bagels (ELEPHANTS & BAGELS), slipped down very nicely too. 

Biscuits, biscuits!

Information: Trustees pointed guests to a table full of information, books and a sign-up sheet for our mailing list.  The books included copies of Julie's 'Looking for Mrs. Livingstone' and r. Marion Taylor's 'Livingstone's Hospital: the story of Chitambo', which chronicles the history of Chitambo Hospital.

Raffle tickets: Another Foch Trustee plied the guests with raffle tickets and the chance to win a range of prizes, including one whole box of elephant biscuits; a signed copy of our Patron , Julie Davidson's book,  'Looking for Mrs. Livngstone (CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION);  bottle of champagne; and many more options.

Zambian crafts:  We were immensely privileged to have a table full of exquisite Zambia crafts provided, for sale, by our Trustee Agnes Ngulube Holmes.   These attracted a lot of attention. 

Talks: Our main event was Dr. Bridget Innes's talk on her medical work in urban and rural Zambia, and her baby elephant conservation work.  This was enthralling, and was supported by a mass of delightful photographs.  It included an account of her trip to Chitambo, where she accompanied a local health partner on a visit to the remote Chipundu RHC and the David Livingstone monument.
Dr. Bridget  Innes shows a slide of the Chitambo Centenary Ambulance

Bridget's talk was followed by a reading by Julie Davidson reading from her above book, and giving the vote of thanks.  Julie is always an engaging and inspiring speaker and we are so privileged to have her as our Patron.

Julie reads to us
Networking:  This event also provided very rich networking.  A major surprise was that a young Grassmarket centre employee has direct link with Chitambo.  His grandfather was married there!    Hopefully we have a  potential recruit here?

Although buying a compete new radio was beyond our reach last Saturday, we did raised more than enough for a battery and voltage regulator for one clinic.  It's a good start and we are following other routes for the full radio upgrade.

Thank you very much to all who made this possible!

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Elephant & Baby

In Scotland's capital in June 2016??
Help us celebrate summer with a wee taste of Africa in central Edinburgh!

Join us at the Grassmarket Community Centre, Edinburgh:

On: Saturday 25th June 2016
At: 1pm
To hear Edinburgh GP, Dr. Bridget Innes, talk about her medical work and baby elephant conservation in rural Zambia
 Book a place on our Eventbrite link: 
This event is by donation to Friends of Chitambo SCIO (Registered Charity No. SC044337).
We support health projects at Chitambo Hospital, central Zambia, where Scottish missionary/explorer Dr. David Livingstone died.  
This particular event supports our Emergency Radio Appeal, to save lives through providing high frequency digital radios to remote, rural clinics.
We look forward to welcoming you.  Crafts, snacks, and some small prizes on offer.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Lighting up Mpelembe Remote Rural Health Clinic

Great news via the Chitambo District Emergency WhatsApp support network!

Mpelembe Rural Health Clinic (RHC) has received a donation of a generator from the Zambian Prevention, Care and Treatment Partnership (ZPCT):

Mpelembe RHC generator

This partnership is funded by the American NGO Family Health International (FHI) 360:

Mpelembe RHC is the biggest of  Chitambo District's 'hard to reach' clinics

 Based in the remote Bangwelu Swamps, where Scottish missionary/explorer Dr. David Livingstone died, it is almost a mini hospital, yet it has no mobile phone connectivity and no electricity.

The clinic is over 100 kilometres from Chitambo Hospital, on bad roads.  In the rainy season (November to March), the roads are flooded and the clinic is all but cut off.

Obstetric emergencies and severe malaria are major medical emergencies in this area.

The generator will make a vast difference to emergency care provision enabling, for example, lighting for night time deliveries as well as for minor surgery, vaccine storage and many other medical needs.

The generator will also complement our Emergency Radio Appeal, which seeks to upgrade existing (solar powered) radios to high frequency digital radios so that Mpelembe and other Chitambo District RHC can call Chitambo Hospital direct, in case of emergency.  This will save lives, particularly  of women in childbirth, who are currently vulnerable to lengthy delays in accessing skilled obstetric help.

America is doing a lot for Chitambo District.  The re-building of the Chitambo School of Nursing was funded via PEPFAR  funding from America (, hence the American Ambassador was the guest of honour at the first graduation ceremony (September 2015):

Mickey and Jackie Baillie, from North Carolina, USA, founded the highly successful Agape Village Foundation orphanage at Chitambo:

Please join us in helping to build on these great achievements to make a real difference in  this remote area of central Zambia

See our Total Giving button  to the right of this page

Monday, 2 May 2016

Operation Life Wrap

One long journey, from Hong Kong, 47 WhatsApp messages and many photos later (!) evidence that the Life Wraps have finally arrived safely at Chitambo and have been tested by the health care team.

Thanks to all involved and hoping that these will make a real difference to survival, particularly of expectant mothers, in this remote, rural area.  The photos speak for themselves.  We are now aiming to complement this with our Emergency Radio Appeal, so that Chitambo District expectant mothers, especially those in the remotest 'hard to reach' Bangwelu Swamp area, where there is no mobile phone connectivity, will stand a fighting chance of survival.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Online Donation button

A very big thank you to Friends of Chitambo Trustee, Catriona, who has enabled our Total Giving donations button (See to the right of this page).

This will make a huge difference to attracting donations to our cause.

Donors can contribute to any of 5 main work streams:
Thank you and please spread the word!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Life Wraps en Route!

Exciting news! The Life Wraps specifically requested by our Friends at Chitambo have now been despatched and are currently wending their way across the world towards Chitambo. We have ordered one for each Rural Clinic and look forward to hearing of their safe arrival. Watch this space for more updates.... .....and on 26th April 2016 they finally arrived at Chitambo! Well done to all involved. Photos to follow.

Consider intercepts the boxes of Life Wraps at Lusaka International Airport
The boxes!

Consider hands the boxes over to Chitambo Driver, Mr. Brian Kanche, for transport to Chitambo

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Fundraising events

  • Fellowship Lunch
The year is getting off to a flying start with one successful fundraising event under our belts, a Fellowship Lunch organised by Friends of Chitambo Trustees Margaret and Gillian and hosted by their church, St. James the Less, Penicuik, Scotland. 

The lunch was specifically in aid of purchase and transport of Life Wrap anti-shock garments for Chitambo District:

Fellowship Lunch in aid of Friends of Chitambo, February 2016
4 or 5 different kinds of soup, a mass of different kinds of cheeses, fresh fruit, and an array of cakes resulted in a grand total of £321 from this generous church congregation.

The above photo was sent direct to Mr. Levi Chifwaila, Senior Nurse Tutor at Chitambo, by WhatsApp.  He sent a voice recorded message straight back: Click here to hear Levi's thank you message

Isn't technology a wonderful thing?
  •  Penicuik High School Bake Sale
Other events in the pipeline include a bake sale by pupils at Penicuik High School.  They had entered us into their Young Philanthropist Initiative (YPI) competition, with potential for winning a £3,000 prize.  What we could have done for emergency care with that?  Sadly, we came second.  However, pupils are providing the bake sale by way of compensation.

  • Lunch time talk
We are planning a lunchtime talk at the Grassmarket Community Project, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1-2 pm on Saturday 25th June 2016.  Friend of Chitambo and Edinburgh General Practitioner (GP), Dr. Bridget Innes, will talk about her medical and elephant conservation work in rural Zambia.  Watch this space!

Proceeds from all these events will go towards emergency care work in Chitambo District:
  • Life Wraps
  • Purchase of an emergency care short-code number
  • Radio repairs and replacements
  • Ambulance maintenance
 If you think you could contribute, please see our donations page opposite, under Support Us. 

Thank you

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Chitambo Life Savers have acting talent!

Greetings All,
Despite the silence since Christmas, much has been happening, not least Chitambo partners' initiative on producing this illustrative emergency care response video: Click here for the link

This video was produced as part of our Scottish Government Small Grant project on 'Strengthening emergency care communications in the Chitambo District, central Zambia'.  Zambian partners ran 2 5-day intensive workshops at Chitambo, in November 2015 and February 2016, to consolidate previous Knowledge into Action (K2A) and Knowledge Broker (KB) training provided in partnership with Scottish health service partners.

During the November and February workshops, Zambian partners (particularly Mr. Consider Mudenda, In-country Project Coordinator/Technical Lead and Mr. Vincent Kole, Hospital Information Officer) worked with Chitambo Hospital staff to create several initiatives:
  • 2 Chitambo Hospital Facbook pages (one open; one closed)
  • 1 active WhatsApp Emergency care support network (known as the Life Savers)
  • the above video
Video participants acted out the anticipated Chitmbo Hospital response to a case of Colles Fracture of the wrist, including accessing best evidence on medical management of this condition, from sources provided by the above project (Dynamed Plus:

They also showed the roles of the Knowledge Broker (Information Officer) and WhatsApp support network in advising and guiding the health care team. 

Congratulations to Mr. Mudenda and the entire team for their initiative and commendable acting.