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December 2018



December 2018

    Gary and I were able to travel to Zambia in early November for a few days. We attended meetings with Jackson Kalekwa, Alisad Banda, Pastor Dan Sargent and Stephan Felgenhauer, in order to help initiate the transition to having mainly Zambian administration of the medical mission there. I was eager to visit the Mwembezhi Lutheran Rural Health Center, our sister clinic 40 miles outside of Lusaka, where Jackson is the Clinical Officer in Charge. He has been the face of the clinic for over 30 years. It was a Saturday, and since the clinic is open 24 hours, Jackson saw some patients after meeting with us. He gave us a tour of both buildings. There are several patient exam rooms, and a room for doing deliveries. They have computers and have started using a government health information system where patients have cards, rather than a paper “health passport”. There is a pharmacy storage room and dispensing area, as well as a room for laboratory equipment, which is elaborate compared to what we do in the mobile clinic setting. He spoke with me about the home-based care they do, and having Zambian pastors trained to counsel HIV patients. They are also able to treat patients here for both HIV and tuberculosis. Martin Luther Church is right there on the property and we met Pastor Mbunga, who is very involved with ministry to the patients who come.

    There are many differences in our two clinics, but the rural healthcare is similar in both settings too. The primary healthcare emphasis is on maintaining the health of children and mothers. This involves under fives and antenatal clinics on a weekly basis. For under- fives, the children are weighed and registered, then the moms get health teaching from one of the nurses on topics like diarrhea, malaria and nutrition. The children each see a nurse-midwife who checks them for enlarged spleens (caused by malaria), signs of anemia, and malnutrition. Vitamin A and deworming medicines are given, then the vaccines against measles, tetanus, pertussis, rotavirus, polio, and other life-threatening diseases.  

    Antenatal clinics are important in preventing both infant and maternal mortality. In Zambia, women with uncomplicated pregnancies can deliver at the Mwembezhi health center as well as come to antenatal clinic for their prenatal care. The Lutheran Mobile Clinic in Malawi has the ability to provide weekly antenatal clinics to four different villages, thus reaching over 100 women monthly. Just as in Zambia, these clinics provide preventive care. New patients receive an insecticide treated mosquito net and are tested for syphilis and HIV. Women are weighed, have blood pressures taken, and are checked for anemia or other concerning symptoms. A nurse-midwife checks baby’s heart rate, position and the fundal height each visit. The women receive iron with folic acid, antimalarials, deworming medicine, and tetanus vaccinations, along with health teaching.  Women are told to go to the nearest health center for their deliveries, or to a hospital if any complications are found. It is a joy to see these women coming back with their healthy infants for their first under- fives visit!

    The Central Africa Medical Mission continues to provide healthcare with the same preventive, educational emphasis as when it was begun in 1961. Lives are being saved, and more people are hearing of God’s plan of salvation from sin through Jesus. We thank you all for your prayers and support of our clinic work and gospel outreach. Wishing you a blessed Christmas!

Beth Evans, Nurse in Charge