In August of 2019, 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.
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.
As of summer 2020, the project has been completed and the community is using the women’s prenatal shelter at Chikuni Hospital! The project was driven by the hospital, with PWOB providing whatever assistance the hired local contractor requested. PWOB provided financial support to the project with funds raised at the 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. The maternity shelter located near the hospital allows expectant mothers to come and stay nearby before labor begins.
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 6, 2021. Questions? Email email@example.com.
PWOB Team Zambia with our lodging hosts at the Mukanzubo Girls’ Cultural School, Chikuni