15 Aug August 2023 Newsletter
I had the incredible privilege to travel to Malawi and Zambia in July with three other members of the CAMM
Stateside Committee, Gary and Beth Evans and Stacy Stolzman, to see the clinics operated by CAMM, meet the
staff, and observe clinic operations. This month’s newsletter contains my reflections on our visit to Lusaka,
Zambia and the Mwembezhi Lutheran Mission Rural Health Centre.
Our visit to Zambia began with meeting Alisad Banda, the clinic administrator, whose office is in a new buildingon property in Lusaka that is owned by the Lutheran Church of Central Africa (LCCA) – Zambia, which is in fellowship with the WELS. He is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Public Health Administration and will defend his research later this year. He is truly a blessing to the clinic operations in Zambia. Alisad has a gentle and faithful spirit that is on fire for Christ and he is dedicated to serving the people that come to Mwembezhi with Christ-centered health care.
Alisad drove our group out to the clinic at Mwembezhi, a rural area about a two-hour drive from Lusaka, part of
it on dirt roads. Before we departed, we loaded up several boxes which were recently received from CAMM
supporters across the country. These boxes contained pill bottles, baby blankets, and baby hats, and we were
excited to personally help bring those boxes to the clinic staff. About 160 babies are delivered per year at
Mwembezhi, and their mothers really appreciate receiving the baby blankets and hats that you and others have
donated, as you can see in the photos below.
“I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Corinthians 1:4
We were met at the clinic by Jackson Kalekwa, the Clinical Officer in Charge, who introduced us to many of the staff and gave us a tour of the clinic buildings, including the pharmacy, lab, examination rooms, and the labor, delivery, and recovery rooms. The onsite staff is led by Jackson, who is very knowledgeable and diligent in ensuring the clinic is run smoothly and that
things are in good order. I was particularly impressed with how clean, orderly, and professional the lab was. The clinic is part of the Zambian government health system, so the government provides many medications and test equipment to keep the pharmacy and lab well stocked. Mwembezhi has a very good reputation, that extends as far as Lusaka, to provide the people with the medications and health care they need.
It was amazing to walk around the property at Mwembezhi and to learn that it is in the same location where the missionaries to Zambia established a church, Martin Luther Church, and began their outreach in the late 1950s, nearly 70 years ago.
The original church is still in use, but the original clinic building has been renovated and new buildings have been added, some very recently. The new mother’s shelter is bright and clean and is a much improved, comfortable setting for expectant mothers to come for a stay shortly before they are due to give birth. The new staff house, which is modern and well-equipped, looks like it could be a home here in the States. It is waiting for power to be connected before it will be occupied by Mrs. Banda, the midwife.
Alisad showed us where a new chain link fence will soon be installed to keep goats and other livestock in the area from coming too close to the clinic. As we walked around the property, we could see many goats wandering through, so this fence will be a good addition to ensure the clinic area stays clean and sanitary. All of these enhancements to Mwembezhi were only possible due to many donations from churches, schools, and individual supporters like you, and are critical to continue providing a high standard of quality care at the clinic.
We were able to sit in on a meeting with Gary Evans, our Field Director, Alisad and Jackson, where the results of the Zambia Health Professional Council assessment of Mwembezhi, in July 2022, were reviewed. The clinic scored very well in this assessment, receiving a high rating of 93.9 out of 100, which was up from a score of 85 in the previous year. This is a strong indication of the good reputation that Mwembezhi has to provide high quality health care. It was encouraging to hear from Jackson and Alisad that many of those areas identified for improvement have already been addressed by equipment additions, changes to the facility, or procedures, and other improvements are planned as well. We anticipate another strong score in the next review in the near future.
As we were leaving the Mwembezhi clinic, a local woman and member of Martin Luther Church named Gertrude stopped by our vehicle to introduce herself and to say “Thank you, thank you so much for all you are doing for us.” Her exuberance, joy in Christ, and her humble thankfulness stands out in my memory. So, I would like to close by passing on her words to you: Thank you, thank you so much for your support of the Central Africa Medical Mission and the work to address the physical and spiritual needs of our brothers and sisters in Zambia and Malawi!
Your sister in Christ,
CAMM Development Committee member