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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Zambian Independence Jubilee Scotland Celebrations: A stunning success

The celebrations were indeed the party of the year.  They lived up to expectations and were a stunning success.

The day began early with around 18 exhibitors setting up their stalls before the opening ceremony at 10.30.  Stalls included both commercial companies and charities/NGOs supporting a mixture of causes: health, education, enterprise etc.

 Friends of Chitambo SCIO had a good vantage point, close to the entrance to the venue and we attracted a steady amount of interest, including generous donations to meet Chitambo's request for help with servicing the Centenary Ambulance.

Our Patron, Julie Davidson, was present at the event and sold copies of her book 'Looking for Mrs. Livingstone' on our stall.  We also had copies of Marion Currie's book, 'Livingstone's Hospital: the Story of Chitambo', on sale alongside a variety of other items.

The Chitambo stall was 'manned' by a team of 7 Friends of Chitambo including Jo Vallis, Margaret Coull, Bea Chitambo (visiting from Leicester), Charlotte Mitchell, Nicola Boyle, Agnes Ngulube Holmes, and Mr. Chola Mwelwa (visiting from Chesterfield) (See photo of Team Chitambo below).  All these volunteers gave their time willingly, selling items and encouraging donations.  In addition, Mr. Mwelwa 'worked' the crowd with our donations bucket and the ultimate result was well over £300 pounds towards the requested ambulance maintenance.

L-R: Julie Davidson (Patron), Margaret Coull, Jo Vallis, Charlotte Mitchell, Bea Chitambo,
Nicola Boyle, Agnes Hgulube Holmes, Chola Mwelwa
We have been in direct contact with Dr. Siame, Chitambo's new (lady) Doctor-in-Charge and have passed on the good news that we are able to forward the requested amount for the ambulance repairs (£1,250) in full.

Alongside the exhibitions, were samples of the 30 Memorial scarves designed by Heriot-Watt textile students (Pictured).



The designer of the winning scarf and the 2 runners up were present to receive their awards (see photo) at the Opening Ceremony.

This took place at 10.30,  in the main Auditorium for the Opening Ceremony, and  included keynote speeches by key Zambian and Scottish political figures.  Please see the following YouTube links.   Friends of Chitambo even gets a mention in Dr. Kaunda's speech:

DR GUY SCOTT - Message To Zambia's Independence Celebrations in Scotland

Dr Kenneth Kaunda: Dr Kenneth Kaunda - Message To Zambia's Independence Celebrations in Scotland

Humza Yousaf MSP: Humza Yousaf MSP - Message To Zambia's Independence Celebrations in Scotland

After a truly Zambian lunch of nshima and many great delicacies, there were Workshops on Health, Education and Enterprise.  The  Health Workshop was also a success, with 7 specific suggestions raised for contributing to improving Zambia's health at 50.  These included, for example, exploring ways to:

  • Improve coordination between external health groups and the Zambian Government
  • Strengthen relationships between the Zambian Diaspora in Scotland and elsewhere and health contacts in Zambia
  • Make mobile health (mHealth) technologies more readily available an affordable to Zambian health workers

A more detailed summary will be posted in due course.

After a very stimulating day, we retreated to ready ourselves for the evening Dinner.  This was a wonderful event, heralded by both African drummers and Scottish pipers.  However, the greatest highlight was the  Mthunzi Culture Group, a youth group visiting from Zambia, which provided a stunning display of music and dancing (see photos).  They really stole the show. 











Thursday, 16 October 2014

Scotland Celebrates Zambia at 50!


We are ready for you and it's not too late to book your place: 
There's a packed programme, including a health Workshop 
featuring top Zambian doctors talking on challenges and opportunities in Zambian healthcare at 50.  This is followed by an Indaba (discussion) about what the Zambian Diaspora 
and Friends of Zambia could usefully contribute.  We hope to come up with one or two specific initiatives to follow up.
Questions for you:

1) How can external Development groups better coordinate 
with the Zambian Government on healthcare delivery on the ground?
2) Is a health insurance system the best way forward in terms of funding Zambian healthcare?  What would that mean for the poorest elements of society, such as in remote Chitambo District villages? Please comment.  We'd love to hear from you.

Chitambo's Centernery Ambulance is in urgent need of help

The Toyota Landcruiser ambulance donated to Chitambo as a Centenary gift, in 2008, is said to have made a real difference  in terms of getting people to hospital more quickly, in case of emergency, and saving lives.  However, 'she' is not getting any younger and our Chitambo partners report that 'she' is now in need of repairs amounting to 12,500 Kwachas or around £1,250.  This more than the hospital can afford.  The ambulance has been lovingly nurtured by the local driver mechanics, who have kept her going despite the  long distances and rugged terrain involved.  They would like to keep her going as long as possible but, although the Zambian Government contributes a certain amount  to ambulance servicing, it is never enough.

One of our stated goals, within Friends of Chitambo, is to help to support  maintenance of this ambulance.  Reasons for this are not hard to see if  you watch this short Vimeo video from Pulse, an organisation which supports better access to maternal and child healthcare in Uganda and Zambia (http://pulsevillagetransport.com/): https://vimeo.com/101495779

Village Ambulances, pulled by bicycles or motor bikes, are certainly valuable and, as the video shows, they can save lives.  However, how much more so a 'healthy' motor vehicle which can transport an expectant mother, sick child, trauma victim or other emergency case rapidly to hospital?

Dr. Siame, Medical Officer in Charge at Chitambo, has forwarded the following breakdown of costs:
  • Servicing of Injector Pumps..............................................£650
  • Fuel to the capital and back..............................................£180
  • Labour..............................................................................£76
  • Driver's allowance (3 days)...............................................£135
Full Servicing, including:
  • Oil change.......................................................................£54
  • New diesel filter/air cleaner...........................................£40
  • New oil filter...................................................................£40
  • Stabiliser Rubbers...........................................................£50
TOTAL: …................................................................................£2,500

Friends of Chitambo is covering the top 4 (£1,041)

We need your help to raise the remaining £184

PLEASE HELP US TO HELP CHITAMBO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

To make a donation, please see our Donations Page on this site, under Support Us.  
Thank you in anticipation of your help.