OkaZHI: Okanagan-Zambia Health Initiative

Why Zambia?

bg_footerAbout_2picsbg_footer If you’re looking for the “real” Africa, Zambia has enormous appeal. This southern African, land-locked nation boasts some of the continent’s best wildlife parks, the mighty Zambezi River, and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and a world heritage site, the Victoria Falls, also known in local dialect as Mosi-oa-Tunya – or “the Smoke that Thunders.” Less well-known to tourists, but equally impressive in grandeur is the Zambezi floodplain that runs through Western Province; soon to be recognized as a world heritage site. Zambia borders the nations of Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia and currently has a population of approximately 11.5 million. Zambia is a democratic society with freely held elections since 1964. They are a country at peace and they welcome international collaboration. There are 37 different dialects spoken in Zambia. These have been aggregated into 9 major languages. English is the only official language of Zambia. We chose to go to Zambia because our founder had roots in this country as a child growing up on the Copper Belt. He was also a classmate of Professor Chifumbe Chintu. Looking to start a non-profit organization committed to professional capacity building and professional retention, Zambia became an obvious place to begin.

Healthcare in Zambia

Zambia has an effective Ministry of Health, currently under the leadership of Minister Joseph Kasande. Despite their very real successes in improving outcomes for HIV/ AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, they continue to be challenged with human resource and retention issues.

 “Zambia has a dire shortage of health workers, with less than a third the doctor-patient ratio recommended by the WHO”
– Yakub Mulla, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of Zambia, “The Lancet,” February 2008.