Project Description

Empowering women and children

For the past 8 years OkaZHI has been working with the support of the leadership team at Lewanika General Hospital to strengthen staff and institutional capacity to improve care, using the concept of a “model ward” for the pediatric ward whereby best practices and standards are modeled and staff are mentored.

The concept of “the model ward” is not new. It has its origin in the notion that by focusing on one ‘model’ ward, embedded within a complex hospital system, improvements in the quality of care in one area will diffuse over time to the practice of care throughout. It has been successfully used within a variety of health systems, including low and middle-income country settings.

The pediatric model ward is a valuable component of a much broader health systems and capacity strengthening, of which the Zambia government has stated as key priorities. The evidence-based approach to learning, teaching and inter-professional collaboration has generated significant interest from many stakeholders from the standpoint of not only improving quality of care, but also with respect to nursing and medical education, human resources for health and strengthening of the Zambian health system.

Previous Work

  • The pediatric ward at Lewanika General Hospital was specifically chosen by our Zambian partners to develop the ‘model ward’ concept for several reasons – the hospital director is a Paediatrician, many of our member nurses are Paediatric focused, and the needs for children amongst the most pressing.
  • An OkaZHI pediatrician mentored doctors and nurses on the pediatrics ward at LGH. He also taught neonatal resuscitation courses at LGH and the School of Midwifery.
  • A pediatric nurse mentored and worked along side nurses on the pediatric ward for 6 months.
  • Managing Obstetrical Risk Efficiently (MOREOB) Program – a comprehensive performance improvement program that creates a culture of patient safety in obstetrical units –taught over two years. 
  • Regular play therapy established on the pediatric ward through our partnership with UBC- Okanagan faculty and nursing students
  • Pediatric-specific modules included in OkaZHI “Emergency and Triage” workshops
  • Pediatric protocols developed by stakeholders to improve quality of care and to provide education materials for nurses and other health care providers.

Future Work

  • Collaboration between the central level institutions and facilities in Lusaka and Lewanika General Hospital, including; team learning and exchange through a peer-to-peer model, the potential sharing or pooling of materials (e.g. training curriculum).
  • Training on evidence based best practices and standards of care, and increasing resources and equipment to provide a more optimal environment for both care and learning. 
  • Expand model ward concept and training to maternity wards at Lewanika General Hospital, including neo-natal specific content for the ‘Special Care Baby Unit’.

Current Volunteer Opportunities

We are recruiting individuals across disciplines with a passion for maternal-child health. Specific needs requested include; gynecology, maternal and neonatal resuscitation, midwifery/prenatal care, child-life specialists.

Program Lead: Alexandra Malloy

Any questions, comments and inquiries regarding this program can be sent to

of births attended by a skilled birth attendant in Western Province
of children 1 years old are fully immunized in Western Province
of births attended by a skilled birth attendant
(Health Management Information Survey Report, 2016)
 (Zambia Demographic Health Survey, 2014)
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Keep up the great education and motivational work. I can see the hospital improving bit by bit and the patients benefiting from your dedicated work.
I have been really delighted by the attitude of the [OkaZHI] teachers and to their relationships with our participants… They have encouraged an attitude of learning.
I like to see the children playing…the whole ward seems happier, even the staff!


Okazhi’s mission is carried out by the hard work of our volunteers and we are always looking to expand our team worldwide. Although we are recruiting healthcare disciplines, we are also in great need of all professions and skillsets to achieve our mission.