The Zambia Medical Mission is an annual event that has been taking place since the 1990’s. Every year Americans and Zambians come together to host clinics in four different villages in the southern province of Zambia. This year those clinics were held in Simalundu, Kapaulu, Nazibbula, and Mabuyu over six days. Back in the ‘90s it began as a much smaller operation but has blossomed over the years to now include about ninety-six Americans and over one hundred Zambians. Everyone that participated, which included doctors, nurses, dentists, etc. who took time off from their jobs to volunteer to help serve others. It was amazing to be surrounded by so many optimistic people willing to serve God and the people of Zambia.
President Bush traveled to Haiti this week to witness the rebuilding efforts firsthand, meet with Haitians about their immediate needs and future hopes, and visit with organizations that are assisting in the rebuilding effort with support from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.
When we live in a country with more forms of contraceptives than you can count it is hard to imagine that every country does not have the same resources. When I went to Zambia I never realized how difficult family planning could be for many couples. Many do not use birth control not because they do not want to, but because it isn’t as easily accessible. In Zambia usually bigger families with five, six, or seven kids is the norm because they do not have many options. According to an article on Unplanned Pregnancy Statistics by Diana Bocco, the Alan Guttmacher Institute in New York estimates that up to 49 percent of the pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. This includes pregnancies happening both inside marriage (or monogamous relationships) and those happening to single women. So you can imagine how surprised I was to see this statistic about the United States when we have one of the most progressive health care systems in the world.
Highlight the good – This summer has been extraordinary. I have been given an opportunity to see first hand how one or two committed individuals can make a positive impact on an entire community. Over twenty years ago, one man was impacted by the needs in his community. It began with one can of food distributed by one man and has since developed into a multi-faceted grassroots organization – Of One Accord, Inc. – which provides vital services to its community members. But in addition to these services, the agency wears many hats. It’s a social network – community members from every walk of life congregate together and discuss ways to improve the living and working conditions in their communities or they simply stop by to say ‘howdy.’ It’s an advocate – men and women, young and old identify local needs, voice their concerns and develop initiatives that are sometimes provocative, sometimes cutting-edge and sometimes counter cultural. It’s hope – over 300 committed individuals volunteer with the agency each year, many year after year, and willingly give of themselves, their time and resources to lend a helping hand to someone in need.
To fill you in on the rest of the events that have happened, my days at the clinic are all but over for this trip. In the days leading up to the mission I was needed to much here to get things ready. Once all the team members arrived (all 220 of them) things really got crazy, but I was very impressed to see how all the organization and planning really keeps things moving smoothly. Meals are held in a large field of chairs behind the house and there is no where you can go without running into someone. It’s nice be around so many people, but also a little hectic.
Since my last report, so much has happened! I have completed my survey project of the employees and patients of Rural Medical Services (RMS). This information will be extremely valuable to the management of RMS in determining the strategic direction of RMS in the future. I also think this information will be very valuable to the patients of Rural Medical Services.
Kiruhura Christian College has continued to allow me to educate all 112 of the students on various health topics. The week of June 21-25, I taught each class about dental health and provided them with toothbrushes and toothpaste. I got this idea from a student who asked me at the end of class one day if I could teach him how to “wash” his teeth. I also gave these supplies to the headmaster, secretary, matron (woman who cares for the girl boarding students), and two teachers who participated and assisted in the education.
For the past week I have been busy both in the community as well as in the clinic, conducting health fairs throughout various communities across the island. As a result we been able to perform 215 blood sugar tests and blood pressure readings over a four week period. Seven of the people screened were referred to Clinica Esperanza due to high blood sugar readings. There are a couple more communities that we are planning to go to within the next week or two.

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