Mushili Health Center – Zambia
Located in the Copper Belt of northern Zambia, southern Africa, Mushili Health Center serves a rural population of 15,000. Malnutrition, malaria, TB, HIV, polio, anemia, burns and traumatic injuries are common in this community. Both preventive care and limited treatment is provided at Mushili Health Center provides. Ibenga Hospital and Ndola Children’s Hospital are located close by and offer care for those needing inpatient medicine.
Healthcare students from the US and UK have studied at Mushili since 2002 under the guidance of an American RN and periodic physicians. Students can communicate adequately using English. Victoria Fall, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, is located just an eight hour drive away, and provides an unforgettable highlight to serving at Mushili.
Location & Community
Mushili Health Center is located 20 miles SW of the city of Luanshya, in north central Zambia, southern Africa. This region is known as the Copper Belt, and characterized by rural savanna. Most people live by subsistence farming and have very little means. The rainy season lasts from December through March. The dry, cool season is April to July, and warm season is August through November.
Visitors may fly into either into Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, or into the city of Ndola. Lusaka is a four-hour drive from Mushili Health Center. Ndola is only a 30-minute drive, and is the preferred entry point. A representative from the Health Center will meet arriving visitors.
For current information please visit the Zambian embassy website appropriate for one’s home nationality. United States citizens can obtain current visa information from the website of the Zambia Embassy in Washington, DC.
Traveler’s Health & Safety
Yellow fever vaccination is recommended. Malaria is common in Zambia and visitors should consult their physician regarding prophylaxis prior to travel. One should consult with their personal physician before traveling, and refer to the CDC Travel Website for the most up-to-date health information. Travelers are advised to refer to the United States State Department Website for the most up-to-date nation-specific travel information, and to regularly review Current Travel Advisories.
Most of those coming to Mushili Health Center are women and children. Infant mortality in this region approaches a startling seventy percent. Malnutrition, malaria, TB, HIV, polio, anemia, burns and traumatic injuries are quite common.
English is the official language of Zambia, and is used in all schools and in the media. Literacy is only about fifty percent in rural areas. Zambians also speak African languages. Translation is available for those who do not speak English.
Public Health Initiatives
Mushili Health Center is located at the Kafulafuta Baptist Mission, also home to an elementary school with enrollment of 500 students. The Health Center attends to 50-100 outpatients daily, serves an area of population 15,000, and provides health education, prenatal care, well childcare, vaccination, control of communicable diseases. It emphasizes the training of community health workers to provide similar care through out the region. Mushili is associated with two hospitals: Ibenga Hospital and Ndola Childrens Hospital located 15 and 25 km miles away respectively.
Healthcare Profession Staff
Supervision is provided by an American registered nurse, Lorna Sarra, who lives on site. She is assisted by a staff of Zambian nurses.
Students will participate in all aspects of care, becoming familiar with the particular dynamics that impact the health of traditional people. They will come to better appreciate the connection between poverty and health, as well as those preventive healthcare interventions that are particularly effective including provision of safe drinking water, bed nets, burn prevention, family planning and literacy.
Student Lodging & Meals
Students reside in furnished, Western-style houses at Mushili Health Center. These houses have electricity and running water. Meals are usually shared with the American staff that live at Mushili. Clothes washing is available.
Email via satellite link is available.
INMED invites all participants to consider raising extra funds to financially support this facility. While such efforts are not required, they provide opportunity for INMED personnel to become involved in this important aspect of international healthcare.
Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, is located an eight-hour drive from Mushili, near the town of Livingston, Zambia. David Livingston, the great explorer of Africa, in 1854 was the first European to view these falls.
Behavior & Dress
Women can wear long pants or hospital scrubs to work. Dresses covering the legs entirely should be worn to all other outings such as market or church. Tops can be sleeveless. Men may wear shorts to work or on outings. White coats are typically worn during clinical work, but not neckties.
What To Pack
Visitors should bring copies of all healthcare profession licenses, diplomas, or certifications. A carry-on bag should be packed that contains essentials items just in case one’s luggage becomes lost. Bring clothes appropriate for the weather, and be aware that in this environment clothes frequently become soiled.