CENTRAL AFRICA MEDICAL MISSION
It seems that Covid-19 often comes up as a topic in our newsletters. I guess this one is no exception. Zambia and Malawi are both in their third wave of infections although cases have moderated in both countries in recent weeks.
The virus has struck our Mwembezhi clinic in Zambia. Zambia has been slower to begin its vaccination campaign and as a result only one or two of our clinic staff there have received even one shot of Vaccine. Consequently, when an outbreak of the virus affected the area around Mwembezhi our clinic staff were not immune.
Despite the precautions we had taken at the clinic against Covid -19, four of our clinic staff tested positive for the Virus. Two of those infected were Future Biloyi – one of our nurses and Anthony Kosongo -our Laboratory Technician. Both are younger and did not have serious symptoms. However, Mrs. Mayase Banda who is one of our older nurses, had to be taken to the hospital in Lusaka and was put on oxygen. Praise God all have recovered and are doing well. The remaining staff were also tested when the outbreak occurred and despite at one point being down four staff, clinic operations were not affected. The clinic buildings were disinfected and our covid precautions were reviewed to guard against further infections occurring during clinic hours.
In March 2021, Malawi was one of the first sub–Saharan Africa nations to begin vaccinating. However, vaccine deliveries to the country have been unreliable. All of our staff have now had one dose, while Beth and our older staff members have had two doses. We have had issues with getting other staff fully vaccinated because demand has far out stripped supply. One of our staff tested positive over the Christmas break, and did not return to work so we were not worried about the rest of our staff. We have had one or two recent scares but so far, no additional staff have tested positive.
One of those scares occurred in mid-July. Beth and I were just turning into the airport to begin a vacation with our family in the US when we received a text saying a childcare provider for one of our staff had tested positive. Fortunately, we have Violet Chikwatu and Lusungu Mwembeye in training to take over from Beth and me. We decided Violet and Lusungu should handle the problem. We reminded them of the Covid protocols they should follow and let them take care of it, which they did. The staff member was sent home to isolate. He later tested negative and returned to work.
As I write this letter Beth has returned to Malawi from the US, I am now in England visiting family. Beth was impressed with Violet’s work and the initiative she took in making sure that clinic operations continued without issue. Lusungu also did well solving problems and taking care of the day-to-day administrative functions.
This was their first test of how well they can run the clinic in our absence, and both have done well. This bodes well for the future.
Please keep the people of Malawi and Zambia in your prayers, especially that Covid Vaccine supplies and distribution can improve and so spare them the misery of this infection. Please also pray for our staff in Malawi and Zambia, that they stay healthy and continue to do the work God has given us.
Gary Evans – CAMM Field Director/Clinic Administrator - Malawi
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