So again this week has rushed by - I had determined to write up on Friday which was supposed to be home based day reflecting on all the amazing evaluation and assessment data we had gathered from both training sites earlier in the week -BUT an early morning and somewhat cryptic series of communications from Sylvester - from MHUNZA - we found ourselves rushing to a symposium to mark Dignity in Mental Health Day held at Chainama. I've never seen Lesley move so fast as she switched from domestic to public dress! It turned out to be a really useful and informative day and included a chicken and chips lunch! We were welcomed with true Zambian generosity as we were not on the official guest list.. There were presentations from the Ministry, Care providers and Users and from the Hospital itself. We got a picture of the planned developments in the service and the Hospital but also a perspective from the staff side, the area health providers and from Human Rights, service users and Legal Aid perspective. All in all we gained a much more rounded picture of the present position of the service and its aims and aspirations. So much hope is pinned on the passing into law of the Mental Health Act which is due for its first reading this year and which will provide the framework to support the planned growth of the service. The day also gave us the opportunity to meet with some of the key people we had on our list to contact -including two senior staff we had worked with last year- and so were able to confirm a planning meeting to discuss the future of the work in Chainama. So we got home late afternoon too overwhelmed to do much but reflect, cook and sleep!
Then yesterday the solar power system had a relapse and we were without power for most of the day. We spent our time struggling with our plans for the future - trying to define our aims and make best use of all the support we are receiving here. We rewarded ourselves with a walk to the road end, short minibus ride and a meal at the wonderful Lebanese restaurant with a friend who is staying here briefly and some newly arrived VSO workers.
To go back to earlier in the week - Monday was the last patient group in Chainama. A good and productive session again with a range of patients and ways that the time is used. Tuesday was full on! all the Chainama trainees turned up and we spent about 2 hours on the reflective evaluation which ends with trying to arrive at what they consider the most important changes for them and the patients. So much material. The Hospital sent someone to video the process but in our group we were so absorbed we barely noticed him. We will see the result next week! Most trainees chose to take the short written assessment and we spent the afternoon marking them which turned out to be not so daunting as the system we had worked out did seem to be effective..
Wednesday at UTH as well as a supervision session we went through the same process of evaluation and assessment . Ending the afternoon with a somewhat exuberant art group! The scribble warm up technique has really grabbed the imagination! More marking!
It is worth saying here that the temperature has dropped significantly by a good 15 degrees in 24 hours so we have had to resort to socks and digging out the fleeces. By the end of the week it had climbed back up to a pleasant mid to high 20s - but no real rain just one heavy shower.
Thursday was again full on and we were only able to survive it because of the lower temperatures. We had a productive follow up meeting at the Ministry of Health - more planning to do! We found a small print shop in a market area where they do colour and can print on card - so we sat in a café and finalised the wording for the various certificates then this poor guy spent over 3 hours getting the printing sorted.
We sat there for a while tantalised by the smell of all the food being prepared on the stalls around us but we had to leave him to finish as we had to go to the University Medical School to meet with a Lecturer in Public Health who Lesley knew of through her research. He was very enthusiastic and helpful with information and contacts and signed us up to do a presentation at one of there weekly seminars. So you can see why Friday was so needed as a consolidation day! What will next week hold.