As a non-profit organization, we work in collaboration with Zambian healthcare partners to promote equity, hope, and social justice in health through supporting locally identified priorities and strengthening healthcare capacities


  • Mentorship
  • Teaching Modules
  • Building on local strengths
  • Building Relationships
Learn More About Our Programs


Dr. Bill Nelems
Dr. Bill NelemsFounder

Dr. Bill Nelems was born in South Africa, and lived an exemplary life as a world-renowned Canadian Thoracic Surgeon. His vision for OkaZHI was born after a visit to Zambia in 2006 where he saw the health challenges and needs of Zambians. Dr. Nelems founded OkaZHI in 2008, and was the first Executive Director or the organization. Today, OkaZHI is an organization that embodies Dr. Nelems energy, passion, and values – to make a difference, to give back, and to make this world a better place.

Meet our Board of Directors

“The Okanagan Zambia Health Initiative (OkaZHI) is a capacity building organization – developing the conditions for sustainable growth and change. OkaZHI’s aim is to build the capacity of Zambia’s healthcare infrastructure and empower Zambian healthcare workers to deliver the best care possible.”

- Dr. Bill Nelems


UBC Okanagan
UBC Okanagan Faculty of Health and Social Development
The Faculty of Health and Social Development signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Zambia. OkaZHI is working closely with UBC to support and help coordinate its efforts under this Memorandum.
Global Nursing Citizens
Global Nursing CitizensFaculty of Health and Social Development
The Global Nursing Citizens is a diverse group of students at UBC-Okanagan with a united goal of developing globally aware nurses, raising community awareness of humanitarian needs, and supporting health initiatives abroad.
 Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research
Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (CCGHR)
The CCGHR is a global not-for-profit organization promoting better and more equitable health worldwide through the production and use of knowledge. The CCGHR focuses on the use of health research to develop capacity at individual, institutional, and systems levels.
 Canadian Network for International Surgery
Canadian Network for International Surgery(CNIS)
The CNIS is a nationwide non-profit organization that promotes surgical care through surgical and obstetrical skills training. Their vision is to empower people and create an environment where the risk of injuries is minimal and everyone, even those in low income countries, have access to adequate surgical care.


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 always recruiting healthcare disciplines, we are also in great need of all professions and skill sets to achieve our mission.