Partly it feels as though we have been here for ever and partly that we have just arrived! As always the last week or so builds up to a rush of final meetings and reports. It is intensified at this time of year for us by the deadline for Scottish Government Small Grants application coming at the beginning of November. So a lot of international communication has gone on while we firm up our ideas for the best way forward with our partners here, building on what we have learnt from this Feasibility year so far. Consolidation and capacity building seem to be where we are at - both at home and in Zambia.
With the help of our trainee trainers we have finished the training courses at Chainama Hospital and College. As always for us the most interesting part is the reflective evaluation where trainees record what has changed for them. A great emphasis this year on the power of simple art making to open up communication and the shared process to improve relationships. Assessment marks have been very positive too - so between us we seem to be getting the message across! We had productive meeting with Sergio Mainetti, who is the CBM/Basic Needs lead in the area to see where our approach might fit with what they are doing.
Just a couple of busy days to go and then seeing if all the things I wasn't going to buy but which have somehow appeared in my cupboard, are going to fit in my modest bag. Then it will be goodbye to Gossner which provides such a peaceful base and back to the cold.
Joanna has spent the last week in Livingstone, 200 miles south of Lusaka at the Livingstone General Hospital following an invitation from Dr Sheikh supported by the SMS Dr Kachimba, delivering training to 10 hospital staff in the mental health unit there. Participants included medical staff, occupational therapists, clinical officers, a nurse and a physiotherapist. The Occupational Therapy department welcomed us with training space and enthusiasm and it was a privilege to work with such a close knit team. They even managed to come up with some clay which was well used! This was the first time the training has been delivered over a concentrated 5 days and worked very successfully. At the end of the course all ten participants passed and their feedback and evaluation of the course was very positive. " Did not know clients can open up that quick. Art has made it possible."- "How I feel and think about patients has definitely changed. After developing significant rapport with the patients as am able to look at them as human being with potential to develop themselves and achieve their aspirations."
We hope that this model of the training will be useful in similar hospital settings elsewhere in Zambia as it could be an efficient use of both trainers and participants time and resources.
Meantime, Simon has been coordinating the training at Chainama Hills College Hospital in Lusaka for both hospital staff and student nurses and student clinical officers.
These courses are now nearly finished and will end in the next week when participants have completed their final evaluation and assessment. The course for hospital staff has been led by Wala Nalungwe, one of our new Zambia trainee trainers, as part of our plan to establish the sustainability of the training within the resources of the Zambian healthcare system.
We are now in the final two weeks of our time in Zambia and are trying to hold meetings with key players within the health system here to embed the ZTA training within the wider system of training for health professionals in Zambia and to carry forward the monitoring and evaluation programme for the work. It is going to be a very intense few days as we try to round off the trainings and meetings. We still hope we may be able to do a second workshop with MHUNZA members before we leave on 27th October. The second planned workshop had to be cancelled because the hospital where it was to be held had no water or power.
All this to do and the temperature is climbing again to the mid 30s this coming week. The sun is almost directly overhead at this season, so the only thing to do is not to go out in the midday sun!
All very well for him here in comparatively cool Lusaka but I had to walk to and fro to the Hospital in Livingstone in a seriously high midday sun!
This week has gone really quickly. The training at Chainama, both Hospital staff and College students are warming up, as is the weather! Actually we had some heavy rain, briefly yesterday evening which felt really good.
On Monday we held a Taster session for the Kaynama MHUNZA group and staff from the Hospital there. Though not as many people turned up as we had hoped it was really interesting and got positive responses. sadly the follow up session planned for Friday - where more people were coming was cancelled at the last minute because there was no power or water at the hospital. The plan is to reschedule for when I am back from Livingstone.
We are having half way catch ups with the trainee trainers, both stages 1 and 2. As we are trialling this training model their feedback is really important and has been helpful in developing the monitoring structures.
In the training the use of clay always sparks things off and we have seen it used in many different ways by trainees and patients. The nonverbal communication exercise always causes a lot of laughter as well as reflection.
On Thursday we got a lift with Heidrun and Felistus to the First Night concert of the Lusaka Proms Festival, "Night on Broadway". Some amazing voices and jazz musicians - a wonderful evening.
In the house next to us here at the moment is a group from Western Province, Liangati Mubula Project, who are trying out making products, jams etc from fruits from their region. Their plan is to try them out around town at the end of the week. I was allowed to taste one of the jams - it was delicious. Watch this space - good things to come!
All in all a mixed but busy week!