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Friday, 23 December 2016

Season's Greetings from Friends of Chitambo


2016 has been another amazing year, tinged only by sadness at the news of the death of His Majesty Chief Muchinka, Chief of the Lala people.  Our thoughts are with the Chitambo community as they mourn the loss of their esteemed and much loved Chief this Christmas.

Chief Muchinka (centre), in royal robes, with Dr. Tiza Mufune, District Director of Health Far left); and Dr. Jean Paul Kandolo Nzinga, Senior Resident Medical Officer (far right) (2010)

Our thoughts are also here in Scotland, with the sad news that our Honorary President, Janet Knox, has fallen and sustained a hip fracture.  Janet has been battling metastatic breast cancer and other health problems.  However, thanks to the good fortunes of our Scottish NHS, she has now been to the operating theatre and had the fracture repaired.  Apparently she was awake and eating when her family visited.  She is much comforted by well-wishes from Zambian friends and has a copy of the photo below at her bedside.

Honorary President, Janet Knox, with Levi Chifwaila, Senior Nurse Tutor, Chitambo School of Nursing (Bonnyrigg, Scotland, June 2015)
We wish Janet a speedy recovery from the fracture.  We are enriched by the example of our Chitambo elders, Chief Muchinka and Ba Janet, who served as a nursing sister at Chitambo in the 1960s.  Her memories of that time remain strong and bright.

Here are a few images of our year.




Thank you to all our supporters and we wish you a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous 2017 when the time comes.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

More Scottish/Zambian connections

Our Penicuik Christmas Street Fair was a great success again, with particular thanks to Gillian who put in a lot of work on producing goods for sale and enlisting a kind friend to help with the stall.  Thanks, too, to Catriona who came out from Edinburgh to help.

Catriona 'man's' the stall

We were also very much blessed by the presence of Scottish/Zambian community member, Davis and his young son Tengy.  Ba Davis is a highly talented gentleman, with experience of working in Scotland and Zambia.  He has joined Friends of Chitambo and will be a great asset to the cause.

Young Tengy, however, could be even more of an asset.  As an aspiring young businessman in his own right, he bought a raffle ticket and won our Christmas hamper!  We need him on board.

Ba Davis and Tengy

Tengy has a winning streak!
However, Tengy is not our youngest member.  That's David, aged nearly 2.  His Mum, Olu (originally from Nigeria) is our Acting Treasurer.  At our recent Friends of Chitambo  AGM and 3rd birthday party, we gave David a toy ambulance....the Chitambo ambulance in miniature....and we are thinking of enlisting him on Levi's proposed First Aid for ambulance drivers course.  He may be young but he's very bright and a fast young learner.  He is bound to excel!


Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Our Honorary President

The link between Ron Swanson and Friends of Chitambo runs even deeper.  Our Honorary President, Mrs. Janet Knox, was a close friend of the family during her days as Nursing Sister at Chitambo.  See Janet pictured below, in her nurse's uniform, together with Chitambo missionaries and their children:

Janet Knox, in nurse's uniform, with Chitambo missionaries and their children 
Janet was Aunty Janet to Ron and his siblings!

Very sadly, Janet is gravely ill with metastatic breast cancer, although she remains typically brave and in good humour.



Our beloved  Honorary President, Janet Knox


Local Friends, Jo, Margaret and Gillian, recently enjoyed an indoor picnic with her.  After a sumptuous feast of Giovanni Bistro sandwiches (supplied by Margaret) and many other 'goodies', we repaired to Janet's bedroom so that she could put her feet up whilst we read extracts from a book about the transition to Zambian independence and reminisced about her Chitambo days.

It was an intimate and memorable occasion with much laughter and fun...just as our President wants it.

She was also very appreciative of email communications from Levi Chifwaila, Senior Nurse Tutor at Chitambo School of nursing.  Levi met Janet during his visit to Scotland (June 2015), on behalf of our Scottish Government-funded Small Grant project on 'Strengthening emergency care communications in Chitambo District'.


Levi with Janet, June 2015
 Janet is much comforted by Levi's emails.

Our love is with her.



Great Scots!

There's a lot of catching up to do!

Friends of Chitambo Trustee, Richard Vallis, was selected to receive the Great Scot Award on behalf of Lung Ha Theatre Company, which he founded: http://lungha.com/

Lung Ha is a leading Scottish Theatre Company for people with learning disabilities.  This prestigious event took place on 29th October, at the Double Tree Hilton Hotel, Glasgow: http://www.7daysscotland.co.uk/sites/events/a_great_scot/


L to R: Richard Vallis; Paul Vallis (Lung Ha volunteer); Stephan Tait (Actor, seated); Dan Wallace (Silver Medalist for swimming, Rio Olympics, 2016)

Nice that the event also honoured leading individuals from Scotland's ethnic minority groups, including  murdered Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Sha, and Kalhid Ghelan who raised over £300,000 for judo stat Stephanie Inglis's treatment, following a motor bike accident in Vietnam,  Both these awardees received standing ovations and Kalhid Ghelan was the overall winner of the Great Scot Award.

Richard is a truly Great Scot: in his own right and recently also won Archery Scotland's Coach of the year Award for his contributions to Disability Archery: http://scottisharchery.org.uk/news/scottish-archery-awards-agm

The Great Scot event also doubled as a golden opportunity to meet up with Ron Swanson, another Great Scot with a Chitambo connection.

L to R: Jo Vallis; Ron Swanson; Richard Vallis at the Double Tree Hilton Hotel, Glasgow


Read Ron's explanation below:

"After 56 years, it was wonderful to meet up with Dr Jo and Richard Vallis.
Jo’s family - the Currie’s and the Swanson family were brought up together, in the early 1960’s, in the Chitambo Hospital Mission Station, in what was Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia.
Chitambo has major historical links with Scotland, as it is where the famous missionary/explorer David Livingstone died – the hospital is known as Livingstone’s hospital.
Jo Vallis is the founder and chair of the charity “Friends of Chitambo” supporting the wonderful work of the hospital, serving a community of 100,000 people – just slightly smaller than Ayrshire.
As a family, we are planning a very special nostalgic visit to Chitambo in 2017 to experience at first hand the lasting legacy of the late Ron & Mary Swanson who in 1960 left the comfort of Glasgow, with their three very young children, to serve as Church of Scotland missionaries; with our father being responsible for the building and construction of many of the hospital buildings, including a maternity wing, nurses hostel, the Doctor’s and two Nursing Sisters houses – the good news, nearly 60 years later, the buildings are still standing and being fully utilised to support the needs of the community.
The old photos include a very young Ron & Mary Swanson, with their three bare footed children – Elizabeth (7), Ronald (3) & baby Andrew (6 months).
We have so much to be thankful for ……..."

Ron's Dad, also Ron Swanson, was a missionary builder at Chitambo and built the 'old' student nurse hostel, which is still in use today:


'Old' student nurse hostel, built by Ron Swanson Snr.


Here are some photo of the your Ron at Chitambo:




Nowadays, Ron Chairs the vibrant Ayrshire-based charity Centrestage: http://www.centrestagemusictheatre.co.uk/

Their Facebook page is an inspiration to us on getting our message 'out there' and we are working on developing our own page.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

NHS Education for Scotland (NES) Resources go global

Scottish and Zambian partners presented a conference poster and paper simultaneously in London and Kampala.  This was as part of our Scottish Government Small Grant project on strengthening emergency care communications : CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL STORY


Twittering for Chitambo

New Zambia programme
 Zambia had been chosen as one of 4 partners for future for the Scottish International Development (ID) programme http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Scotland-s-place-as-global-citizen-2be5.aspx.
news.scotland.gov.uk
Scotland will build upon partnerships with four countries to deliver a number of International Development works streams, Alasdair Allan announced today.
#ScotlandAfricaWeek
Scottish Government is running Twitter conversation this week (w/c 31 October) which they  are calling #ScotlandAfricaWeek – encouraging people to tweet and share their relationships/work with Africa, or send us photos to tweet.
This is to celebrate the 11th anniversary of the Scottish Government’s International Development programme on 3 November, and the team will be highlighting a wide range of existing Scotland/Africa links on our @ScotGovID twitter account using the hashtag #ScotlandAfricaWeek.  The idea is that they generate publicity, not just for international development work/aid in Africa, but also all the other positive links they have, such as with the African diaspora communities in UK and specific activities which people might not always recognise as contributing to that relationship.  Ultimately they want to tell a bigger, more positive story than just ‘aid for Africa.’  

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: http://www.ed.ac.uk/global-health/research/project-profiles/health-systems-strengthening/zukhwa
 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: http://www.thet.org/

 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:  http://www.thet.org/resource-library/in-our-mutual-interest

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): http://ug-ahila.org/

 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: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6Xci-Qh9PixeERxLWVTd0FRS00/view?usp=sharing

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.