The Remarkable Familiarization Trip to Lusaka
In trying to complement your good effort in supporting our organization and our clients and many other projects that we have embarked upon, I decided to go on a familiarization tour to Lusaka on 16th February 2011 Last Month, to visit various government ministries and institutions and meet some of the most important government officials in charge of health.
We were privileged to go and be accommodated at the National Assembly Motel where Most Honorable misters stay to represent their constituencies. Mr. Lombe Justine Mulenga, who is Kwacha Constituency Member of Parliament where we stay in Kitwe, received us to well and accommodated us in his apartment at the National Assembly Motel. He introduced us to most of his fellow Honorable ministers and Members of Parliament there including the Copperbelt Minister Mr. Mwansa Mbulakulima. Honorable Mbualakulima was very thrilled to hear what we are doing in his Province as Christian Aid Ministries organization to help the vulnerable community members who are suffering from TB and HIV/AIDS. We had a constructive discussion with him regarding Christian Aid Ministries and all its projects in the community and he promised us that he will be able to visit us and learn more about what we are doing when he comes to Kitwe in April next month!!! We are sure that Honorable Mbulakulima will be pleased to see the projects that we are doing and as the Copperbelt minister, he will definitely support us because we are supporting people in his province.
On Monday 28th February 2011, we were so honored to be visited by one of the most important ministers in the Zambian government, honorable Deputy Minister of Education Dr. Boniface Kawimbe who came from Lusaka to open a medical school in Ndola. Dr. Kawimbe decided to come and pay a courtesy call at Christian Aid Ministries office at 3038 Kwacha East Kitwe (at our home) to see what the organization is doing. Multidrug Resistant MDR TB and HIV/AIDS have reached alarming proportions in Kitwe. So the Honorable minister being a doctor, decided to tour the Copperbelt Province as a whole and visit civil society organizations like CAM that are working on these issues so that together with the government we can find a lasting solution of how best we can curb them.
We had a fruitful discussion with him regarding how best we can partner and access funding from the government and other donor funding organizations. He even gave us information of some of the government institutions that can help us with funding such as The Citizens Empowerment Commission. He even assured us that he will be able to recommend us, should recommendation be needed. We took him around our home to show him the food that we have in stock for our TB /HIV/AIDS patients at the chest clinic and in the community and he was very very happy.
I first met Dr. Boniface Kawimbe and several other important government officials when I recently went to Lusaka on 16th February 2011 last month on a one week familiarization tour to lobby for financial support for Christian Aid Ministries from the government and other funding international organizations based in Lusaka. I met him at the National Assembly Motel where I was accommodated by our area member of parliament for Kwacha Constituency, Honorable. Justine Lombe Mulenga for one week.
After a long chart with him, I gave him one of CAM Newsletters that we printed with our CAM address in Kitwe. So when he came to Kitwe, he decided to come and see what we are doing at our office. Everyone was very surprised to see the honorable Minister with his entourage coming to our home in Kwacha East. His big car with a Zambian Flag on it was packed by our gate. We took photos with him and we have made a long lasting relationship together and he said that each time he would be visiting Kitwe, he would also be visiting us to see how we are doing with our organization work!!
This was my very first time to visit Zambia National Assembly and attend a parliament session and listen to parliament deliberations on various important issues affecting the Zambian people. It was a very very big day for me because this was the first time I was presenting Christian Aid Ministries organization and all its obligations to the highest office and authority in the land, the Zambia National Assembly. This was a very big opportunity for CAM because we wanted the government to know and appreciate what we are doing as an organization for the Zambian people. We wanted the government to come up with a concrete plan on how best they can work with us to help many suffering TB and HAIV/AIDS patients in the community. The Minister of Health was very very happy to learn more of what we are doing and he promised that we will be able to collaborate more effectively on so many issues surrounding the health of Zambian people in the community in the Copperbelt province. He promised to visit us one day to see physically what we are doing like what honorable Deputy Minister of Education Dr. Boniface Kawimbe did. We are very very sure that this important campaign will bring about drastic social and economic renaissance in CAM and subsequent clientele.
As Christian Aid Ministries, we will endeavor to lobby for support for our suffering people in the community from the government, funding agencies, churches, business houses, companies and apparently any individuals who can support us. We really want to advocate for and support our weak suffering underprivileged society whose voices cannot be heard. We will stand firm and remain commented to our cause and approach even the unapproachable jus to try to help better the living standards of our people.
CAM Recognition for World TB Day!
I would like to also inform you that Christian Aid Ministries has been recognized to celebrate and participate so actively in the World TB Day Commemoration that Kitwe District Health Management Team under the Ministry of Health will cerebrate on 24th March, this year, 2011.
The District wrote to us inviting the Director Mr. Mulenga Stanley to sit on the this year’s World TB Day organizing Committee board to deliberate on how best the commemoration will be done. We commenced our sitting on Thursday March 3rd 2011 two weeks ago and we have continued to meet on Thursdays every week.
It is our pleasure that the government has now begun to recognize our commitment to help in mitigating TB prevalence in the country, and this is a pat on our back to work even harder.
During this commemoration, we are encouraged to showcase some of our activities and the support systems that we provide to our clients suffering from TB in the community. It is a good and a rare privilege because almost all charitable organizations in Kitwe District including those that fund community based grassroots organizations will also be there to display what they do.
Each invited, organization will have a displaying space/shelter where they will display what they do. Those who have recorded what they do on the CDs, tapes, Brochures, magazines and other IEC materials will be allowed to display and sale them if they want.
People will turnout in great numbers and there will also be a good representation of some of the government officials to officiate at this occasion such as the Kitwe District Commissioner, Copperbelt Permanent Secretary, the Town Clerk, Copperbelt Minister, and Mr. Mwansa Mbulakulima and so on and so forth.
These important officials will be able to see how organizations are helping the government in curbing TB in the country, therefore, creating an enabling environment for these organizations to access certain privileges and funding that the government offers to civil society organizations working on programs to mitigate TB in the country.
The Care Center Plot in Zamtan
The Care centre plot in Zamtan is still intact. We regularly go there with our volunteers to clear the surrounding and make sure no one is tempering with it. Almost everyone there is building and Zambia City Council has allowed everyone who has land in Zamtan to continue to develop it without having to wait until we pay them the Four Million Five Hundred Thousand Kwacha that they were previously asking for. We will be able to pay that money to the Council, during the time they will be able to issue Title Deeds to us. Otherwise, CAM is the rightful owners of that land and is at liberty to develop it and build the Care and the Training Centers there. Brother Garette has really encouraged us. He said we have to discuss the way forward regarding the development of this project with his organization. We will soon meet this week to deliberate more on the way forward!!!
While in Lusaka, I shared with so many organizations and the Honorable Ministers about our plans to build a Care center in Zamtan where the most vulnerable patients can be accommodated for a time till they recover and many of them liked the idea. They were promising to come and physically see this project in order for them to plan how best they can support us build the Care and the Training Centers. We will keep praying about it!!!
Community Programs Organizer
We have now engaged a community Programs Peer Educate Natasha Zulu who is now doing everything possible to ensure that Programs in the communities with the resident community volunteers and the Chest Clinic Feeding program are well coordinated. She is the one who now writes all the information for the programs that she does there with the community volunteers and the patients are well coordinated and organized. She will be able to drawn up programs such that every Mondays, through Friday the community programs are vigorous and well-organized.
Communities Food Distribution
The monthly Communities Food distribution program in all seven communities is on course and is running so well. On February 11th last month we brought patients from Buchi community, St. Anthony community, Kapoto community, Kamakonde community, Mugala community, Luangwa and Kamatipa communities and gathered them at 3038 Kwacha East, Kitwe
We hired a big tent from the Zambia Army (Chandamali Barracks and mounted it right in front of our home. We brought all the twelve plastic chairs from the stall room, six seater lounge sofa from our seating room and a carpet where patients sat. We also brought three round plastic tables that you obtained for us from the stall room on which food was served to some patients and other invited guests. It was fully packed! Some patients and CAM volunteers sat on the corridor of our home.
In order for the government to know what we are doing, we invited some of the government officials on the Copperbelt who represented the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy such as Mrs. Mataka and Mrs. Kaweche who were very very delighted to see what CAM is doing. Mrs. Mataka, in her speech said, it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that social amenities are provided to the Zambian people free of charge. However, there is need for concerted efforts from the civil society organizations like CAM to help attend to some of the social needs of the Zambian people such as TB, HIV/AIDS, malaria, hunger, etc the government alone cannot manage.
This was a very very wonderful day indeed for the volunteers of Christian Aid Ministries and all the clients in the communities. We ate together and sang and danced together. This was a hilarious day because every one of us was happy. We will continue to remember this day. The government will remember to collaborate and support organizations such as CAM that are working hard in lessening the impact of TB and HIV/AIDS that are taking most of the Zambian lives today.
Mrs. Kaweche encouraged all TB patients to take the HIV test and start taking the ARVs because HIV/AIDS is just like any other disease and people with it should not lose hope. Margret Lombe, one of the volunteers from Kapoto community also encouraged the patients that there is still hope for the patients with HIV to be healed because she was also sick like them but she is now healed in the name of Jesus.
We invited Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation who came and took video of the entire food distribution program on this day and aired it on the national television Focus almost free of charge. We just booked a taxi and picked them from ZNBC in the morning and they came and they did a video shooting and aired it on the National television and the entire Zambia watched us.
Chest Clinic TB Patients Feeding Program
The Chest Clinic Patients Feeding Program has been running so successfully and has helped Christian Aid Ministries to have become even more popular. Our work there is visible and viable because we meet our clients almost every day in a week.
We are so glad because many patients are doing fine because of this program. There are no more TB defaulters. This nutritional support program that Christian Aid Ministries has introduced at the chest clinic on Mondays and Fridays per week, is working out so well for the TB patients and the Chest Clinic. It has really yielded good results as many patients on the TB treatment are no longer stopping to take the TB drugs or ARVs as a result of lack of food. There has also been a substantial decline in TB relapse cases among patients completing the TB treatment
We first fry soya beans and grind them into powder. We then mix it with 1 bag of roller meal, 4 kg packets of powdered milk, 4 kg sugar and 1 kg packet of fine salt in 25 kg bag of soya flour. We then pack the mixture into 2 kg plastic packets and start distributing them to patients at the chest clinic on Mondays and Fridays. Soya is a rich source of proteins and is liked by most patients. Of late, soya beans is scarce and very expensive. We are so grateful that we have two 50 kg bags of soya beans remaining in stock. We are likely to go back to Mpongwe Farms where we buy this commodity any time soon. It is a 5-hour-drive journey and fuel and transport costs have been increased. We expect to pay more when we go back to Mpongwe to buy soya this time around.
Progress on the Shelter Construction at Buchi Clinic
The shelter construction project at the Chest Clinic has been progressing well. This project has 10 good successive stages to completion. We have already done the Foundation setting, 5 tone Sand procurement, Stone acquisition (3.5 tones), procurement of 15 pockets of Cement, and the Foundation Footing. What we are just remaining with is the Slab and flow Construction, Pillar construction in the corners to hold the roof, the Shield construction around the shelter, and the Roofing.
We are praying so earnestly to God that we can complete this project soon. People like this idea so much including; the patients, the Ministry of Health and the volunteers. If this shelter is successfully completed, it will add value to Christian Aid Ministries and to the Zambian government as a whole. Food distributions and community sensitizations on TB and HIV/AIDS will be easier because we will have where to gather and conduct our programs.
It will be able to serve multiple purposes ranging from a CAM food distribution center for TB patients in Kitwe to a training facility for both the Chest Clinic and CAM.
We will even invite you Brother Daniel, Dr. Liz, Brother Seamus and many more other CAM Fundraiser Supporters together with our local government officials to come and open it officially for us. We will be so glad to achieve this goal because CAM will win a lot of favor and support from the Zambian government and other local and international donor funding organizations to commission such a project and they will find a way of appreciating us. Our financial base will be broadened as many more partners associate with us who will also find ways and means of supporting us.
We thanks our CAM Fundraiser Supporters in helping us successfully complete this viable, multipurpose and resourceful Shelter construction project at the Chest Clinic! It is rainy season and our volunteers and TB patients are getting soaked with rain during food distribution to patients as they work on an open environment at the clinic. The Zambian government does not have enough infrastructures to accommodate us while we are serving the suffering TB and HIV/AIDS clients at the clinic. These patients are very very sick and are coming from different communities to receive medical care services at this clinic!!!
Community Visitation and Sensitization
In addition to the communities food distribution program, Christian Aid Ministries activated two more programs namely which are Community visitation and Community sensitization programs. We now visit two communities in a month. The purpose of this visitation is to create a relationship with our clients, and to keep tract of those that are still on TB or ART medication and those that have completed TB treatment and are now continuing with the ARVs. We immediately want to be weaning off patients that have completed TB meds and have recovered and strong enough to fend for themselves. This will help us to spread our assistance to many more other patients in different communities who are in need and do not have any source of support.
Community sensitization programs have started to go smoothly. So far we have done one powerful community sensitization program on TB and HIV/AIDS in Kamatipa community where we had a turnout of 80 community members who where sensitized on TB/HIV/AIDS Prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and support for people suffering from these diseases. This happened during the time I was in Lusaka on a familiarization tour.
The volunteers in Kamatipa and the CAM Administrative staff organized it. They booked and a taxi and took a Flip Chart stand which they used as a teaching aid. After the sensitization, they also distributed some of our newly written brochures. At the end of the program, each participant at was asked to sign up to keep the promise and take a challenge to help in any way they can within their means and support patients infected with TB and HIV/AIDS within their locality. This is one way of helping people to realize that they also have a role to play to help their family members and their neighborhood on issues of TB and HIV/AIDS without depending on charitable organizations to help their family folks.
The programs are running successfully nowadays because we have now engaged a community programs organizer and an administrative Secretary who work in good collaboration with the community volunteers in all seven communities in organizing community programs. Even when I’m not there, work is going on so well. I’m really very impressed with this. I now have people who know what to do, making my work very very easy.
Our Sincere Gratitude to our Fundraiser Supporters!!!
We would like to thank Dan Montes, Dr. Elizabeth Rini, Brother Seamus and his wife Lisa and all our faithful and generous fundraiser supporters who have been partnering with Christian Aid Ministries in raising the funds for the organization for us to continue to manage to implement various viable projects and activities to help alleviate TB and HIV/AIDS in various communities in Kitwe. You have expressed a great deal of compassion, sacrifice and goodwill in your sponsorship to this organization and for this reason, we wish to express our sincere gratitude for everything that you have done and what you continue to do for us! We love you so much and we wish you well in everything that you good Brothers and sisters are doing out there.
We feel so much beholden for your unflinching love that you have vividly shown us through this organization. We wish to pledge to you that in all our human endeavors and willpower, we will continue to scrupulously reciprocate your good effort and continue to work extremely hard, faithfully making sure that your good support reaches the intended suffering TB/HIV/AIDS clients in the community. We will continue to come up with meaningful projects and business prospects that will translate into the betterment of the living standards of our poor clients, the AIDS prone and hard-hit society who are dying in great numbers without anyone coming to their aid. We will remain committed to our cause and support our suffering clients and ensure that they are provided with the most needed care and support while they are taking their TB and ARV drugs so that they can fully recover from their ailments that are jeopardizing their lives in order to reduce unprecedented premature deaths associated with TB and HIV/AIDS among them.
Your efforts brethren are not in vain for as long as many TB patients here are being cured of TB and those with HIV/AIDS are being taken care of by Christian Aid Ministries, encouraging them to stick to their ART for life to continue to boost their compromised immune system to help them fight off some of the opportunistic infections that put their lives at a greater risk.
It is gratifying and encouraging to hear how the general populous is appreciating CAM and what it is doing. People are able to see for themselves how the organization is helping many TB/HIV/AIDS patients in Kitwe. This good work has gone before the ministry of health, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services and other important government wings who are all very appreciative of what the organization is doing for the suffering people in Zambia. Some of our clients who were once very very sick are now well and are testifying about how our organization helped them with food, transportation, supplementary medication and hospital consultations i.e. x-rays, counseling and paying for all their routine TB and HIV tests to enable them to start treatment. Our prayers are also encouraging them to depend on God for their total healing. The Zambian government is procuring TB drugs, ARVs (which sometimes run out of stock in healthy institutions) and provide many other health care services to the people while in complementarities, our organization is helping the poor to access those drugs and other health care services that the government provides to the people. Our able and dedicated staff members and community volunteers in our organization make sure that patients who are commenced on these drugs are observed closely and make sure that they successfully complete the treatment to full term without defauting. The organization provides an enabling environment for this to be a reality.
Thank You! Thank You! Thank you so much for your Support!!!