Zambia, Africa

ZAM13b - Bethsada Mercy Ministry: Partnership Reports



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Report Date: December 12, 2020

Report Following Visit by Anthony Chitambala (ZAM18b)

Bethesda Ministry of OM Zambia is led by Peter Chila. The base is in Kabwe but the work has expanded to other provinces such as Northern Province and the Copperbelt. They are looking at opening up in other provinces to see how best they can help those who are disabled, particularly those in need of surgery. 

Recent Events

Nutrition Program

change to operatingThis year was not so easy for them because they had to close the centers due to COVID-19. Because of the pandemic, they had to change the strategy of coming together to visiting the beneficiaries in their homes. This has been successful because the parents of the children involved in the program are open to being visited and allow the Bethesda team to do Daily Bible Studies (DBS).

One of the programs they are running for which the BHW funds are very helpful is the feeding program. Before COVID-19 they used to feed the children from the center. That strategy changed during the pandemic to taking food to their homes for nutritional purposes. Most of the beneficiaries in the Nutritional Program are children with disabilities that are beyond any operation needing supportor help other than providing good nutrition to enable the child to survive. Recently (October) a child died due to lack of proper nutrition. 

Before COVID-19 the children used to have two meals (breakfast and lunch) daily but that has changed into just giving families food stuffs such as millie meal (10 kg), cooking oil (750mls), a bucket of beans, hand sanitizers and soap. This may not be enough but is helpful at the moment especially as that’s how far they can go with the funds available and with 66 children being supported at the moment.   

Club Foot

When a child has club foot they are taken to Beit Cure Hospital for club foot surgery. After the surgery they are able to walk normally but the surgery does take time. This means that they have to make many trips to Beit Cure before the whole process of booking, review and healing is complete. In order to do this cost effectively, they wait until they have a good number of children to take at once.   

 

needing surgery

 hospitallots of visits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

providing freedom

Splints

They take candidates who need splints to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH). With splints, one would be able to walk but on crutches without being lifted. This helps children to have the freedom to walk freely, go to school, to play and do many other things without the help of another person. The sad part with many is that when they cannot walk, they are usually locked in the house because there is no one to help them be lifted and taken everywhere they want. This has led to many of them losing their sight and causes depression in the end. Going to UTH for splints only needs two trips. 

 

Plans for the Future

There are plans that they want to build a physiotherapy room to help manage it without distraction from others. This room should be able to have enough equipment to do most of the giving hopephysio activities. In addition, they want to send two people to go and study Occupational Therapy and another one Physiotherapy so they reduce the amount given to therapists whom they hire when they are in need of a therapist, only to find he/she is busy.  

 

Current Issues and Challenges

1) One of the challenges is that the new way of doing the Nutritional Program has become a means for most parents to survive using a child with a disability and knowing that OM Bethesda will bring food. In many cases, the food given to support the child is also consumed by the whole house and when the food is finished, that disabled child struggles. To some parents, those children have become bread winners for the family.

amazing team2) Some of the cases need physiotherapy when surgeries are done to help complete the healing. At this time it is expected that the parents will be able to help take their children for physiotherapy at the center. Unfortunately, most parents are reluctant to bring their children for physiotherapy.

3) The center does not have a physiotherapy room. At the moment they just use any classroom where all the other kids would be. This is disturbing to the children who need physiotherapy because their friends who do not need physiotherapy are a distraction. 

4) With the rising need not only in Kabwe but other places, the resources needed are becoming greater and greater.