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Field Letter to CAMM Contact Women - 2019 LWMS Convention

     Greetings in the name of our Risen Savior to the Central Africa Medical Mission Contact Women from all 30 nurses, clinical officers, nutritionists, village workers, house staff, and administrators who thank you for your support and hard work.

     Our Lord has showered a lot of gifts on us and It has been a busy year in Africa. In Zambia we hired Mr. Alisad Banda – a Zambian national - as our Administrator. Alisad is doing well as he works his way into the new job.  At the clinic, devotions are conducted every morning by Pastor Mbonga, who is the pastor of Martin Luther Church, which is located on the clinic grounds. Our medical services are excellent—an achievement that has been recognized by the Zambian government. There were three Lutheran Church of Central Africa members receiving the Althea Sauer scholarship. Two have now graduated. Sanford Mulindika, a laboratory technician, joined the clinic in January. Future Baloy, a nurse, will be joining us shortly and Tactiful Siweeliba, a clinical officer, has one more year of school. At the clinic we are in the process of improving the quality of the staff living quarters by installing new electrical wiring, fixing roofs and general painting. This work will cost around $1,000. In July we plan to complete the move into the new clinic building.   In order to do that, we must first install a new electrical supply, add plumbing and purchase furniture. The move in cost will be around $7,500. We have recently discovered that the borehole which serves the clinic is contaminated and may need to be replaced. We do not have a cost for that work yet. Finally, in Zambia we have purchased our own vehicle. In the past, we had to rely on vehicles lent to us by the mission, however these vehicles are aging and will not be replaced, hence the need for our own vehicle. We have purchased a used Toyota Hilux 4x4. In terms of reliability, value and parts availability, the Hilux is by far the best choice for our needs. The vehicle cost $23,500. While a good portion of the money for the vehicle has been raised, it is not fully funded.

     At the Lutheran Mobile Clinic in Malawi we added a clinical officer to our staff – Kingsley Khonde. Although Kingsley is a recent graduate he has been a wonderful addition to the staff and has helped to improve our outpatient services.  For June and July we have taken on a third year Public Health student for an unpaid internship. His name is Sidney Kambalikena. We are asking Sidney to conduct a survey into the effectiveness of our services in the villages where we have clinics. Last year we saw over 47,000 patients in Malawi, but because we only visit the clinic villages once a week, we have little if any feedback as to how effective we are. Sidney will be interviewing patients, staff, village headmen, government health workers and others to determine if our services are on the right track, are there other services that are needed, are there things we do that are not helpful, and so forth. His report is due in August – stay tuned.

     In late May we took delivery of our new ambulance! It is a Toyota Landcruiser that can carry up to 13 people plus a roof rack full of medical supplies and equipment to clinic each day and perform emergency hospital runs over some very bad dirt roads. The vehicle was purchased from Toyota Gibraltar and after a 2 1/2 month journey finally reached us in late May. It took another month of going through all the various Malawi government formalities but the vehicle is finally on the road. However, it will not be turned over for clinic use until the engine has been sufficiently broken in, which should take 3 to 4 weeks.

     In 2016 Gary conducted a survey of all four of the LMC clinic sites and determined that all of the buildings needed renovation. Msambo and Mwalaulomwe were the worst. In September of 2018 he began meeting with village leaders, church members and our own staff to determine what ideas others had for the renovations. In general, we were told that the clinics needed more privacy, a procedure room, an examination room, a small laboratory and more light. (None of the clinics have power). At Msambo it was determined that the existing building was in such poor condition that it would be cheaper to build new. With the help of an architect friend in the US we developed floor plans and  estimates. To save on cost, the village leaders agreed to provide bricks, sand and gravel for the project.  Even with that the 1,200 square foot building will cost $9,000.  We hope to begin work in August.   At Mwalaulomwe, we are just finishing the renovation project that included an addition for the lab, exam room and procedure room, private consultation rooms, opaque roof sheets to provide more light, a new floor, repairs to plastering, masonry and drainage and a complete repaint.  The project cost $4,400 and the village provided the sand. To date we have committed to $13,400 of project cost and have raised $15,000 in cash.  Renovations at Suzi and Thunga will require an additional $5,000 for a total of $20,000. We also will need furniture for the new buildings for another $1,000.

     Beth has found that our testing of patients for anemia has increased. All new antenatal clients now are to have a hemoglobin test and our clinicians order them for children who appear pale, especially if they have malaria. We then can give iron supplements or refer the patient to the hospital for a blood transfusion. We have an older model hemoglobinometer, but would like to buy another newer model. Beth is working with the CAMMC nurse, Cindy Fietzer, to get the best price for the new model and make sure we can maintain a supply of the “cuvettes” which hold the drop of blood as it is tested.

     Gary, Beth and Alisad look forward to one day meeting many of you who give of your time, talents and treasures to support everything the Central Africa Medical Mission needs for providing health care to people in Zambia and Malawi who are truly in need. Our goal is to show the love of Christ in all we do, and share the gospel message through our partnership with the Lutheran Church of Central Africa. From sending pill bottles, sunscreen, pads and baby hats, and mailing encouraging cards and gifts, to being our prayer warriors every day, we are blessed to have so many of you in the US supporting this medical mission. Thank you so much!

Yours in Christ,

Beth and Gary Evans

Alisad Banda