Zambia: Direct Relief's programme activities update Dec 2002
Shipment Date: 12/31/2002
Zambia is a land-locked country in southern Africa with a population of 10 million. Out of 173 countries on the U.N. Human Development Index, Zambia ranks153 and suffers from problems typical of most sub-Saharan African nations. An estimated 20% of all adults are infected with HIV/AIDS, and the country tries to support over 200,000 refugees from four neighboring countries. Currently, up to 2.9 million Zambians are threatened with starvation due to two consecutive droughts. As a result, families have been forced to reduce their food consumption and the situation is expected to worsen in the last two months of the year as food prices traditionally rise during the festive season.
Kawambwa District Hospital is a 56-bed facility adjacent to refugee camps in the north of the country and is supported in part by UNHCR. The local UNHCR office and the district hospital in Kawambwa are responsible for the health care of over 25,000 Congolese refugees in Kala refugee camp and a new camp with a similar capacity will open soon. Refugees are arriving at the rate of about 200 a week. Although Kawambwa is a government-run facility, it receives no government support and must care for the inpatient and outpatient needs of this large refugee population in addition to its local population of over 120,000 people. This second Direct Relief donation to UNHCR/Kawambwa Hospital includes essential drugs and supplies as well as infant incubators, an infant warmer, autoclaves, wheelchairs, and basic diagnostic equipment like stethoscopes and blood pressure units.