Partnering in God’s ministry for health and wellness in Zambia
March 20, 2020
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 few years, the CCAP’s Health Department has been focusing on building and improving infrastructure, strengthening the health of women and girls and ensuring availability of preventive 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, the PC(USA) supplied beds at Ndaiwala and Egichikeni rural health centers.”
Willima said the 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, the 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.
The 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.
The PC(USA) and the 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 the 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 the 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.
Emily Teerink, Young Adult Volunteer, and Melissa Johnson, Mission Co-Worker, Special to Presbyterian News Service
Morning Psalms 22; 148
First Reading Genesis 47:1-26
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 9:16-27
Gospel Reading Mark 6:47-56
Evening Psalms 105; 130
Today’s Focus: Partnership with Synod of Zambia
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Dianna Wright, Office of the General Assembly
Angela Wyatt, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Let us pray:
Gracious and compassionate God, please open our hearts to the health needs of the people of Africa. May we continue to provide Christ-centered solutions to address these issues. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.