Zimba Mission Hospital, Zimba, Zambia


IMPORTANT UPDATE: World Medical Mission is no longer placing personnel at this hospital.

Mission Organization: Global Partners, a department of The Wesleyan Church

Profile: Zimba is a 106-bed hospital with medical and surgical services.

Time Difference: +6 hours Daylight Savings Time (EST), USA; +7 hours Eastern Standard Time, USA

Travel:  Volunteers fly by commercial airlines to Livingstone, Zambia and then have a one hour drive to the hospital.

Location: The town of Zimba is located in the Southern Province of Zambia.  It is just 50 miles north of Victoria Falls and Livingstone.

People: Zimba Mission Hospital is in the Kalomo District.  The catchment area for the district has a population of 240,000.  The majority of patients are of the Tonga group.

Language: English is the official language.  Most patients who come from the village speak Chitonga only.  All trained staff members speak English.

Climate: Zambia has three seasons: cool, hot, and rainy. The cool season is from May to July. It is dry with temperatures from 45° – 74° F. The hot season is from August to October. It is dry with temperatures from 64° – 88° F. The rainy season is from November to April. Temperatures range from 54° – 84° F.

Orientation: You will receive a verbal orientation from a long term expatriate physician upon your arrival at Zimba. On your first work day you will be given a hospital tour by a national staff member, possibly the medical director.

Medicine: There are 2 adult inpatient wards with a total of 50 beds. There are 2 separate inpatient TB wards with 20 beds total as well. Many admissions are for HIV related illnesses. Other admissions are for common internal medicine diseases like heart failure, diabetes, and hypertension. The medical staff includes 1 American family practice physician, 1 American internal medicine physician, and 2 Zambian general practitioners.

Pediatrics: There is 1 pediatrics ward with 20 beds. Most admissions are for malaria, pneumonia, and gastroenteritis.

Obstetrics: There is 1 OB ward with 1 delivery room and 7 postpartum beds. Zambian midwives conduct all routine deliveries. There is an average of 50 deliveries per month.

Surgery: There is theater department with 3 operating tables in 3 separate rooms. 2 Zambian medical licentiates perform most basic surgical procedures. Elective cases are scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays. There is no fluoroscopy or laparascopic capability. Bronchoscopy and EGD are available. The hospital performs approximately 25 major surgeries, 20 minor surgeries, and 10 cesarean sections on a monthly basis.

Anesthesia: There 3 anesthesia machines available in the theater. 2 machines are Ohmeda and 1 is a Drager. Available inhalation agents include halothane, isoflurane, and sevoflurane. Spinal anesthesia with bupivacaine is also done. Ketamine and midazolam are available for conscious sedation. Oxygen is provided from large rental cylinders. There is a 2 bed PACU room. A Zambian medical licentiate provides anesthesia.

Ophthalmology: There is a free standing eye hospital on the main hospital campus. The eye hospital is run by International Vision Volunteers. Teams of volunteer eye surgeons usually come to Zimba 4 times per year. During a typical 2 week trip, 600 patients are seen in clinic and 125 eye operations are performed. There is a separate guest house for visiting eye doctors. It is located just next to the eye hospital. A Zambian medical licentiate trained in ophthalmology staffs the eye hospital on a daily basis.

Outpatient Clinic: Construction of new outpatient department building was completed in 2011. An average of 200 patients is seen in clinic each day. Zambian clinical officers triage most patients and refer to the physician for consultation for more complicated cases. The new OPD building has also has a dental clinic with 2 treatment rooms.

ART Clinic: Antiretroviral medications are prescribed for patients with HIV/AIDS. An average of 20 patients is seen in the clinic each day.

Radiology: There is 1 stationary x-ray machine. There is 1 portable x-ray machine. There is 1 ultrasound machine. There is no radiologist on staff.

Laboratory: There is limited diagnostic testing available. Some blood tests include CBC, CD4 count, kidney and liver function. No microbiology is done. There are malaria smears and sputum smears for AFB. Pathology specimens are sent to the U.S. for biopsy results. There is a Zambia lab technician who is the head of the department.

Medical Records: Notes are handwritten in English in the patient files.

Work Load Expectations: Zimba is a small hospital. The work load is light to moderate.

Teaching Opportunities: There is no formal teaching program at Zimba Mission Hospital. Visiting surgeons and anesthesiologists will be working with the Zambian medical licentiates or doctors at the hospital. There would be possibility of some individual clinical instruction in the operating room.  There would be no specific preparation needed for these interactions with the staff.

Clinical lectures for the medical staff sometimes take place on Thursday afternoons.  If the volunteer doctor had a specific field of interest, it could arranged for them to give a lecture on that topic to the staff during their visit to Zimba Mission Hospital. Attendance at these clinic lectures varies.

For More Information: Contact Carly Poor via e-mail or by phone at (828) 278-1274.