Vital medical supplies donated to hospitals in ZimbabweSeptember 30, 2019
Vital medical equipment has been donated to two hospitals in Zimbabwe by staff from the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT).
Walking frames, wheelchairs, defibrillators, crutches, glucose meters, blood pressure machines, syringes and bandages have been donated by staff who travelled to the country as part of a volunteer project.
A team of nine nurses and a physiotherapist from EPUT travelled to Zimbabwe on 21 September to share their expertise and learning with staff from mental health facilities and rehabilitation centres in a bid to improve standards of care.
The initiative, known as the Zimbabwe Life Project, was created by Lucia Vambe, a Practice Development Lead Nurse at EPUT.
Lucia was born in Zimbabwe and moved to the UK to begin a career in nursing more than 25 years ago. She has been a mental health nurse for 15 years and came up with the Zimbabwe Life Project as a way of using her experience to help improve patient care in her native country.
This is the second time Lucia and her colleagues have embarked on the trip, using their annual leave and funding their own travel expenses.
This year they were also joined by 11 colleagues from other NHS Trusts including East London, Hertfordshire and Leeds and Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trusts as well as Essex County Council and a number of private hospitals.
Ahead of their trip the team collected medical supplies and equipment deemed to have reached the end of their life in the UK and arranged for the donation to be shipped to Zimbabwe.
Last week, during their trip, the team handed over the much-needed supplies to Ingutsheni Hospital in Bulawayo, the largest mental health hospital in Zimbabwe, and the rehabilitation unit at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare.
The team also donated clothes for patients and study books to the School of Nursing.
Lucia set up the Zimbabwe Life Project following a visit to see a family member in a Zimbabwe hospital a few years ago.
She said: “I was moved to see how the hospitals were functioning with very limited staff and medical supplies. I wanted to do something to help and came up with the Zimbabwe Life Project.
“While the donated equipment is deemed to have reached the end of its life within the UK, it will make a huge difference in Zimbabwe where there is such a shortage of supplies.
“The walking frames and crutches will support patients who receive rehabilitation treatment but are then unable to afford a mobility aid to further their recovery.
“Despite operating in difficult conditions, the staff in Zimbabwe are dedicated and professional and want to do all they can to offer the best possible care. This trip is about us engaging with our counterparts to exchange knowledge, skills and experiences and ultimately improve care.”