Charity funding
to aid healthcare

Penicuik charity Friends of Chitambo has secured a £35,800 grant to improve access to emergency care for ordinaryn people in Zambia.

The Friends, in partnership with NHS Education for Scotland and the Zambian-run Zambia Research & Development Technology Academy, received the Scottish Government Small Grant to deliver emergency care communications in the Chitmabo district on Zambia.

The Chitambo Hospital was built as a memorial to Dr David Livingstone and has been staffed by many Scottish doctors and nurses over the years. It is now a Zambian hospital but remains under-resourced.

This new project aims to improve emergency care communications in the area by creating a mini-NHS24-type resource centre at the hospital.

In addition, staff will be trained to manage the centre, which will be linked to local health clinics, by mobile phone ‘hotline’, for advice giving on common emergencies such as road accidents, falls, burns, snake bit and other conditions.

It is also hoped staff will be linked, by Skype or telephone conference, to global emergency care experts, for discussion and support.

Jo Vallis, NHS Education for Scotland (NES), added: “This will save lives through enabling sick and injured people to more easily summon necessary help in case of medical emergency. The project also enables valuable international exchange and learning and two Chitambo partners are travelling to Scotland in June, with a packed programme of visits to key Scottish emergency care services.

“They will also be active participants at two related conferences: one a Scottish health conference, the other a Digital for Development workshop, where they will be presenting posters and presentations on the project.

“This is enriching exchange and clearly Scotland is serious about leading healthcare quality improvements worldwide.”

Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for Europe and International Development, said: “Strengthening the links between hospitals and rural health providers will help save lives in rural Zambia. We are proud to support the work of the Friends of Chitambo.”

The improvements will contribute to saving lives in this geographically widespread area with about 100,000 people in isolated villages, some 100 miles from the hospital. Transport to hospital, in case of emergency, is a key challenge.