Tuesday, 1 May 2018

2 fabulous fundraising talks

In or around Edinburgh, Scotland this May? We have 2 fabulous fundraising talks. The first, by Mr. Callum Christie, author of 'Goodbye Colonialism, Farewell Feudalism' is on Thursday 17th May, 2-4pm at the Penicuik Townhall. Details here: https://u3asites.org.uk/penicuik/events
 It charts the history of the Barotseland in the run up to Zambian independence.  Mr. Christie has very kindly offered to pass any proceeds from his book sales to Friends of Chitambo. Heartfelt thanks to him for that.
The second talk, on Saturday 19th May, 2-4pm, at St. James the Less Episcopal Church, Penicuik, is by Dr. Marion Taylor, author of 'Livingstone's Hospital the Story of Chitambo'. She will be talking about Livingstone's character and the fact that, for such a famous man, he actually failed at most things he did! Please see this link for details: CLICK HERE FOR THE FLIER
Marion is also talking on behalf of Friends of Chitambo and we thank her very much too.

Please come and support us if you can!

Road accidents

More reasons for supporting emergency care improvements in Zambia, and in Chitambo District...recent bus accidents. Although thankfully not in Chitambo District, they are all too common. One bus was headed to Johannesburg, South Africa, and crashed south of Lusaka. The other, in Northern Province, was said to have careered off the road due to the driver speeding. In both cases, there seemed to be an organised response, with lists of passengers posted up at the scene, to help people check if their relatives were involved.

But how good if the 992 freetoll number (shortcode for health) could be implemented soon as this would surely help to speed up response times and save lives?

Red ants in medical ward!

All rural hospitals face challenges but this one, at Chitambo Hospital, Zambia, is a bit different from some.  Biting red ants marching up the wall of Medical Ward!

Hospital staff are unphased.  Patients are evacuated to Surgical Ward whilst solutions, including applying diesel, are sought.  However, the Environmental Health Technologist is summoned and soon has the situation under control.  Job done!  All in a day's work!

Red ants in Medical Ward

Scottish Zambian Association (SCOZAA) celebration

Great to meet old friends and new last night at the Scottish Zambia Association (SCOZAA) gathering at the Scottish Parliament. Celebrating SCOZAA's new charity status and Diverse Talents' successful Small Grant award for a project about drama for health education purposes. Well done all!

Zambian National Biomedical Laboratory Professionals Week

22 to 28th April was Zambian National Biomedical Laboratory Professionals Week and the Chitambo team was out and about in the community providing services and raising awareness.
One dedicated team member travelled to far distant Solwezi, North Western Province, to attend the associated Scientific Symposium and present a paper. The Symposium was a joint effort between the Ministry of Health and the Biomedical Society of Zambia. Impressive work everyone!  You are making Chitambo proud!

Chitambo Lab Team out and about in Chitambo District

Grateful community members

Services rendeed
Chitambo delegate

Chitambo delegate's presentation

Conference dinner



Monday, 30 April 2018

Knowledge Broker Champion Workshop

Thanks to our Scottish Government sponsored emergency care project, some of southern Africa's leading medical librarians and information scientist met in Lusaka for a 3-day Knowledge Broker Champion workshop (17th to 19th April). 

A Knowledge Broker (KB), in this context, is an intermediary who supports healthcare workers to find, share, and apply knowledge for the purpose of strengthening frontline emergency care decision-making.  

Workshop participants included 4 librarians and information scientists from across Zambia, including the new Information Officer from Chitambo Hospital, and 3 medical librarians from across Zimbabwe (2 from Harare in the north; 1 from Bulawayo in the south). 

This course aims to spread the KB network nationally and regionally, within Zambia and Zimbabwe.  The course design was a joint endeavour by South African partners within Information and Training Outreach Organisation for Africa (ITOCA), and at UNZA Medical Library.  They were mentored in this work by the Programme Manager for Knowledge and Decision Support, Scottish Government.  The ITOCA and UNZA partners contributed to developing the detailed workbook which forms the basis of the face to face training and comprises online content and interactive exercises.  These partners also delivered the face-to face training in Lusaka. 

This is being  followed by a 16-week online learning course divided into 4 modules.  Self directed learning will be supported by virtual discussion through a WhatsApp Knowledge Broker Network and monthly meetings via the Gotomeeting platform.  Participants will apply the learning from the face-to-face training and online training in 3 short workbased projects where they develop their KB roles in their own organisations.

Early course evaluations (19/04/17), by KB Champion WhatsApp Network included: 
 “Very productive...I liked the module on systematic reviews.  I gained a lot from colleagues.  It debunked some cloudy areas I had.”  (Medical Librarian, Zimbabwe) 
 “We really learned a lot from each other.  We just hope to implement the knowledge gained to our institutions..” (Medical Librarian, Zambia)

Hullo  to our course leaders!

Friends form Zimbabwe arrive

A place to call home for 3 days

Hard at work

Farewell Team Zimbabwe!

Farewell esteemed leader from South Africa!

Remembering Janet

A small group of 'Friends' gathered at the Beetroot cafe, Bonnyrigg, Midlothian Scotland for lunch. This was to commemorate our Honorary President, Janet Knox, who died a year ago. The Beetroot was one of her favourite places and we have many happy memories of gatherings there.
The plan was to plant a small commemorative plaque beside the azaelea bush we had given to Janets husband, George, in her memory. However the unseasonal snowstorm put paid to that. Some say it was Janets michivieous sense of humour playing with us!
We were stunned by another very generous donation from George and family. They continue to be our staunch supporters, helping with the work at Chitambo and keeping Janets legacy alive. Heartfelt thanks to them for that.

Janet's wee plaque

Janet's idea of a joke?!

Happy gathering 1

Happy gathering 2

Book delivery

Life's angels are at it again! FOCH Trustee, Consider Mudenda, met up with Karen Edwards, Country Director for Vision Aid Zambia, to collect the medical text books requested by the Chitambo Hospital health team. Despite being heavily overladen, Karen carried these 4 books all the way from Edinburgh, Scotland, to Zambia, in her excess baggage. She has even added another nutrition book of her own. All these books will soon be at Chitambo along with 6 requested Merck Manuals donated by the University of Zambia. Thank you very much to Consider, Karen and Mrs. Mwafulilwa, Head Medical Librarian at UNZA, for all your help with this. You are making such a difference.

Book hand over

Books arrive in Zambia

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: jo@friendsofchitambo.org.uk

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: http://www.moh.gov.zm/docs/eHealth2017.pdf

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: jo@friendsofchitambo.org.uk

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 (,http://infozambia.com/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 finish...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: https://www.visionaidoverseas.org/zambia

FoCH Trustee, Richard Valllis