The Zambian people face daily healthcare challenges including: malaria, malnutrition, maternal and infant mortality, HIV/AIDS, and other preventable diseases. These challenges are compounded in the rural areas where there is a lack of available and accessible healthcare, shortage of medications and supplies, aging infrastructure, limited family resources and transportation, and limited access to healthcare education. In rural Zambia, thousands of children and women suffer from one or more forms of malnutrition, including low birth weight, stunted growth, and multiple nutrient deficiencies. All of these factors, including a lack of sanitation and clean water, lead to many preventable deaths every year.
In 2002, in order expand its holistic ministry and to address Zambia’s urgent need for accessible healthcare facilities, the CCAP Synod of Zambia began the process of building two health centers. These health centers became the impetus for forming the CCAP Synod of Zambia Health Department. These healthcare centers work in partnership with the Ministry of Health, which provides the healthcare personnel, medicine, and equipment. The two health centers, located in Egichikeni and Ndaiwala in the eastern province of Zambia, provide infrastructure, staff housing, and administrative support for the Ministry of Health personnel. The Health Department networks and strategizes with the Ministry of Health, Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ), and other healthcare stakeholders in order to meet the needs of the communities it serves.
The Egichikeni and Ndaiwala health centers each serve a population of approximately 5,000 people in their respective catchment areas. Both health centers provide basic health care, antenatal care, postnatal care, child growth monitoring, family planning, male circumcision, child delivery, malaria diagnosis and treatment, and HIV testing and referral. Both health centers are staffed by either a nurse or mid-wife, an Environmental Health Technician, a cleaner and a security watchman. In addition to the Ministry of Health staff members, the health centers also utilize community involvement through a community health committee, community health workers, and community health volunteers. All of these volunteers have been recruited from the communities in the catchment areas and are trained by the Ministry of Health. Along with the Environmental Health Technician, the community health workers and community health volunteers visit households in their catchment areas to supervise the health of the community, distribute bed nets, and provide public health courses that focus on preventative medicine including the prevention of malaria, the importance of clean drinking water, nutrition, and sanitation.
The department will be assisting the Ministry of Health with two priority community education initiatives: male involvement in maternal/child health and decreasing gender based violence. The Health Department plans on expanding the men’s involvement program and also starting an educational program intended to reduce gender based violence. The department is also working to develop more health education programs to strengthen knowledge and understanding about basic disease prevention. As a part of the department’s strategic plan, the department hopes to open a healthcare resource center, which would provide a training venue for the community and community health volunteers, a library and resource room, and a hostel.
Despite being located in rural areas with many challenges, both health centers report never having a maternal or infant death since they began providing infant delivery services to the community. Every month hundreds of women visit both health centers for postnatal care and child growth development that they wouldn’t have received otherwise. Both health centers have reported that the number of malaria cases and underweight children have decreased as the communities and community members have been provided with education about nutrition, antenatal and postnatal care, and malaria treatment and prevention. The Health Department is also planning to construct a third health center in Phalaza and would like to eventually provide healthcare services to all fifteen presbyteries in the CCAP Synod of Zambia.
Status: In order to fully implement its five-year strategic plan, the Health Department is actively seeking donors and partners to provide financial and administrative support to help it reach its goal of providing basic healthcare for the people of Zambia. Currently, obtaining its goals and objectives is very challenging as it does not have funding to implement its programs.
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