This past August, a team of Professionals Without Borders (PWOB) volunteers traveled to Chikuni Mission in southern Zambia to perform a project assessment at Chikuni Hospital. Sister Vivien Chanda, hospital administrator, had reached out to PWOB Board President Cal Ihler months earlier, requesting PWOB’s assistance with the construction of a maternity shelter to be located near the hospital.
In addition to Ihler, PWOB Board members Dawn Madore, Mike Mullen and Debbie Black participated on the trip along with Byron Lynch and Mark Murray, both Seattle U Facilities staff members, and community member Terrina Marchant. Objectives included assessing potential building sites, gaining a solid understanding of the project scope and identifying local contractors for bid solicitation. Once commenced, the project will be driven by the hospital, with PWOB standing ready to provide whatever assistance the hired local contractor requests. PWOB is also providing financial support to the project with funds raised at its annual auction.
The maternity shelter offers a logistical solution for women from rural, outlying areas who seek maternity care and delivery at Chikuni Hospital. Often without access to transportation, these women must walk up to 15 miles along rugged dirt roads to reach the hospital, and cannot be admitted until they are in labor. Rather than risk the long journey, many women choose to deliver their babies at home. Complications have resulted in a high rate of infant and maternal mortality in this region of Zambia. A maternity shelter located near the hospital would allow expectant mothers to come and stay nearby before labor begins.
The trip was a success. PWOB consulted on four building sites under consideration, identified and referred local contractors for hospital administration to contact for bids, visited the current maternity shelter, toured the Chikuni Hospital maternity ward, engaged in important conversations with Sr. Vivien and hospital staff and delivered much-needed donated medical supplies. We await confirmation on key decisions the hospital administration must make in order to move forward on this project, and look forward to returning with Seattle U student volunteers to assist and see the project through.
If you would like to learn more about PWOB, get involved and/or support our service projects in Zambia, Belize and Nicaragua, please Save the Date and join us at our annual auction, February 8, 2020 in Campion Ballroom. Online tickets will be available soon. Questions? Email email@example.com.
PWOB Team Zambia with our lodging hosts at the Mukanzubo Girls’ Cultural School, Chikuni