On May 3rd partners discussed the Covid-19 situation in an online Zoom meeting.
The management of St Francis’ Hospital Dr Lalick Banda, Mr Fred Ntongwe, Mrs Judith Mumba and Robert Banda were present. Brian Magowan of the Logie Legacy chaired the meeting. Others present:
Logie Legacy: Chris Faldon, Alison Aitken en Lorraine Wilson.
Border Hospital: Ralph Roberts .
Friends of SFH: Andrew Cairns.
500 Miles: Olivia Giles.
SFH Medical Support Group: Peter Sleutelberg en Arlet Splint.
Also present: John Western, Tim Legge, Chloe Hunter, Chris Jary, Mike Chudlei.
Reason for the meeting: Covid-19 and its consequences for the hospital.
As yet the virus has not reached the Easter Province. In order to be prepared the MoH visited the hospital for inspection, established a protocol, and supplied the hospital with tests and disinfectant. PPE was promised but has not materialised. The Friends and MSG donated money to purchase PPE locally.
Four members of the management team are appointed crisis managers. The procedure is as follows: A patient complaining about symptoms consistent with Covid-19 is tested, isolated and transported by staff (with PPE!) to Mpangwe Motel for isolation. Definite outcome of the test has to come form Lusaka.
Zambia is not in a complete lockdown, but it the public is advised not to travel. Church services and other meetings are forbidden.
Shops, markets, clinics and hospitals provide water and soap to wash hands.
No visitors are allowed in the hospital, with the exception of the relatives of the seriously ill. The Chada is open, mainly for relatives of the waiters who provide extra food for them. The food is handed over at the main entrance. Planned procedures have come to a standstill, but OPD and Maternity are still busy, in spite of the fact that there is an enormous shortage of doctors and nurses. Dr Banda is hoping that volunteers will return in the autumn.
The nursing school is closed, student nurses have gone home.
Consequences for the projects
Olivia Giles mentions that her plan to send children to Lusaka for getting their prosthesis has to be postponed.
Peter Sleutelberg informs those present that the planned building and refurbishment projects of 2019 are finished. In accordance with the management the building of a new Physiotherapy building as wel as the refurbishment of the Pharmacy will be started up soon. The Dutch NGO Wilde Ganzen (Wild Geese) will co-finance this project. These are all 2020 projects.
Tim Legge is trying to raise money for a new generator. He has sent face masks for the waiters and sent money for an autoclave at Msoro Clinic.
Andrew Cairns had planned to leave for Zambia on Easter Monday, which of course he didn’t. However, his Oxygen Plant Project goes well, the plant has been ordered and should be at St Francis’ later in the year. He also is trying to raise money for the generator. The water supply at the hospital still poses a problem – very disappointing for John Western and the Logy Legacy who, some years ago, were instrumental in a big Water Project. However, the water in the compound is now metered and people are paying for their water, but ZESCO proves to be a poor supplier.
In all it was a pleasant meeting albeit that some of the participants were difficult to hear, but with the help of chairman Brian Magowan their points were made. A new meeting is considered useful by all and will be planned in the near future.
Due to the Covid-19 virus all expatriate doctors and medical students have returned to their home country. There is no Covid-19 in the hospital as yet, but the hospital management is preparing for a possible outbreak. Friend of St Francis (UK) have made money available to buy PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
On Sunday, 3 May, partners form UK, Scotland and the Netherlands will discuss the situation with the hospital management in a Zoom meeting.
This is yet another important milestone in the provision of health services to the community and a demonstration of the confidence of Government and partners.
Dr. Paul Nearly, the cardiologist from Border Hospital in Scotland in the company of Lynn Fenn, the sonographer visited the hospital in February this year to offer on- site training in cardiac ultrasound to doctors working in internal medicine and staff from the Radiology departments.
The staff were drawn from St.Francis and Chipata Central Hospitals. The one week training was very beneficial to the staff from both hospitals and we hope it will improve the management of patients with cardiac problems.
“As of yesterday, we are on 48 confirmed cases of covid-19 (April 15). I can’t really say social distancing and other preventive measures are working but rather the grace of God. It is difficult to control peoples movement in an african community due to our culture. Nonetheless, the partial lockdown has been extended to a further 14days, and yes, the council in Lusaka and other well wishers have given out d-washers and hand sanitisers to marketers and are giving public education about prevention of spread of covid-19. In Katete, shop owners have taken up the responsibility for hand washing and buckets are all over the market place. Bars and churches are closed and restaurants are only selling takeaway.
St. Francis is doing vital checks in the shelter at the roundabout and having everyone who goes in and out of the hospital to wash hands at the entrance of the hospital. Operations from outside are also to detect any possible covid suspects before they gain entry into the hospital. Suspected cases would be taken to Chipata district hospital for further investigation and if any needs ICU service, they would be taken to Petauke general hospital but we have had no suspects at St. Francis and no positive case in the whole province as yet.
Regular care has still continued.
The health care workers screening for covid at the entrance and in OPD have masks and gloves as protective wear, and a social distance of a meter is encouraged, though it’s difficult to maintain. The ministry has advised for no visitor, and no bed side visits in the hospital to reduce social contact and this may start today.
Buses are still moving across big towns but every district through the council has been mandated to disinfect everyone who comes in the district. Bus owners regularly disinfect there buses before each long trip and at least every three hours for local buses. Every passenger boarding a bus is sanitized before entering the bus and carrying capacity has been reduced to sixty percent. The traffic officers and public health officers check long trip buses at the intercity to ensure compliance to rules.
Apart from Dr Joop Jansen, there is no other Dutch muzungu doctor. We still have Dr Tim and one from I am not sure where. We also have no muzungu medical students around here.
We continue to pray for God’s mercies to be upon us”.
The Friends of St Francis’ Hospital donated money to purchase PPE (personal protective equipment. Do you want to contribute? Make a donation to the Friends:
The Royal Bank of Scotland
Sort code: 16-25-24
Account Name: FOSFKCT
Account Number: 12100963
BIC: RBOS GB 2L
IBAN GB71 RBOS1625 2412 1009 63
Please indicate: Purchase PPE
St Francis Hospital partner MSG received the following message from Namushi Kalumbi, a nurse training in Malawi, supported by MSG.
“Good afternoon from Zambia
The quadruplets developed a fever. Tilape died on the way to Nyanje Hospital. The other babies survived and are thriving.
The fundraising for the quads has been an enormous success. Two trustees will be appointed to see that this money will go far – hopefully even seeing the 4 through primary school.
It just may be safe to say that our joined effort is a success. An ample two-thirds is in our respective accounts. Just 900 pounds to go and the babies will not be found wanting.