Partnering in God’s ministry for health and wellness in Zambia
by Emily Teerink and Melissa Johnson | Special to Presbyterian News Service
ZAMBIA — With support provided by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP)’s Synod of Zambia created a Health Department in 2016. During its first three years, the CCAP’s Health Department has focused on building and improving infrastructure, strengthening the health of women and girls and ensuring availability of preventative medicine and personnel.
“The lives of thousands of rural Zambians have improved greatly,” according to Richard Willima, coordinator of the CCAP Health Department. “In terms of infrastructure, the department has been able to repair a borehole at its Egichikeni rural health center, build a much-needed mother’s shelter at Egichikeni and begin construction of a rural health center at Phalaza,” Willima wrote in the CCAP Health Department’s December newsletter. “In addition, PC(USA) supplied beds at Ndaiwala and Egichikeni rural health centers.”
Willima said PC(USA)’s support has assisted the CCAP’s Health Department in developing a healthy, trusted partnership with the government of Zambia as it has become an important stakeholder.
Through the Healthy Women, Healthy Families initiative, CCAP’s Health Department has opened a Days for Girls Enterprise, the first certified Days for Girls Enterprise in Zambia. Four staff members have been trained in sewing feminine hygiene kits as well as teaching business and marketing and helping girls learn about menstruation and personal hygiene.
The PC(USA) has supported the program with sewing machines, materials and funds for trainings and kit distributions at local schools. Days for Girls helps reduce the stigma associated with menstruation and helps keep girls in school to complete their education. This enterprise has begun to receive requests for Days for Girls products across Zambia, which will create income and sustainability for the project and its staff.
CCAP is currently hosting a life-saving cervical cancer screening, treatment and education program funded by Presbyterian Women’s Thank Offering. Since Zambia has the highest rates of cervical cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa, this program is focused on spreading awareness of the disease and encouraging women to take necessary precautions, including cervical cancer screening. The program is primarily for women in the three communities of Zambia with rural health centers.
PC(USA) and CCAP also are partnering to help prevent malaria, one of the primary causes of death in Zambia. Although the government of Zambia’s Ministry of Health is doing its best to prevent malaria, there are many needs still to be met. The malaria prevention effort is helping to reduce malaria rates at the Synod of Zambia’s two operating rural health centers.
Willima writes that perhaps the greatest support the CCAP Health Department has received from PC(USA) is the sending of PC(USA) mission co-workers Charles and Melissa Johnson.
“Without Melissa’s help, none of the aforementioned projects would have been possible,” according to Willima. “Melissa and her husband, Charles, have been a great addition to CCAP Synod of Zambia. We are very grateful for them and their dedication to serving the church.”
Because of the Johnsons, the CCAP Health Department has established an office and presence within the greater Lundazi community. They have also inspired friends and visitors from the U.S. to come to Zambia for short-term mission trips; three groups have made the trip since the CCAP Health Department was established.
Originally from Milwaukee, Emily Teerink is embarking on a second year as a Young Adult Volunteer serving in Zambia. The Young Adult Volunteer Program is made possible thanks in part to your gifts to the Pentecost Offering.
You may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.
Categories: World Mission, Young Adult Volunteers
Tags: ccap health department, cervical cancer screenings, Charles Johnson, Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, days for girls, emily teerink, lundazi, Melissa Johnson, world mission, young adult volunteers, zambia
Ministries: World Mission, Young Adult Volunteers