Year Established: 2005

This project builds on existing links with Chitambo Hospital including longstanding historical links between Scotland and Chitambo (PLEASE SEE A NEW PUBLICATION: ‘Livingstone’s Hospital: the Story of Chitambo’ by Marion A. Currie. This book is available on Amazon, priced £11.92. ISBN: 978-1-4567-9609-9.  Proceeds of this book can go to supporting the new nursing school at Chitambo) The hospital was founded in1908, by Scottish missionaries, in memory of David Livingstone who died nearby.  It was staffed by a succession of Scottish nurses and doctors and is now a government hospital managed by an all Zambian staff.  Penicuik for Africa (PfA), a small Scottish charitable organisation, raised funds to buy an ambulance as a centenary gift for the hospital (August 2008).   Founded in 2005, in the wake of the G8 Summit (Gleneagles), PfA aims to make poverty history in specific African communities.  Chitambo is PfA’s main project and the organisation has already provided diagnostic equipment and the ambulance to the hospital. The Chitambo community has requested further assistance to re-open the hospital’s nurse training school (NTS) which was closed in 1996 through lack of funding.  This request is fully supported by the Zambian MOH which has already funded the refurbishment and re-building of the Chitambo NTS with a view to fully re-opening in 2012.  New Tutor housing is under construction and an additional hostel and administration block is planned and budgeted for.  An experienced  Principal Tutor, Mr Jonathan Kasoka,  has been appointed .

Zambian Project Co-ordinator, Levi Chifwaila, inspects building work

New classroom block
At work on the Principal Tutor’s office

Student dining room

Patients who will  benefit from Chitambo NTS

(Above photos by Paul Vallis)

The school will train Registered Nurses and 30, from all over Zambia, have been selected at interview.  Scottish organisations PfA and NHS Education for Scotland (NES) are working to assist the Zambian MOH through furnishing the school and contributing to aspects of knowledge exchange in order to support the local tutorial staff.  NES is a Scottish centre of excellence in health professional education and has expertise in terms of knowledge exchange and distance learning.  These organisations have now joined forces with 2 other dynamic partner groups: Macha Works Zambia grassroots internet providers, a group which specialises in enabling internet connectivity in remote locations such as Chitambo (; and Agape Village Foundation, an American group which is currently completing building of a 96-bed orphanage at Chitambo (   Jointly, our collaboration has real potential for transforming life for many at Chitambo. Current activities Partners are collaborating to enable the re-opening of the Chitambo NTS as a fully equipped, modern training facility by 2012.   Integral to this is furnishing and equipping the school.  The Zambian MOH has refurbished existing classroom and student hostel accommodation and is contributing to new building work.  PfA is helping to furnish the school.  At the Links visit in May/June 2010, partners visited the Mpepwtwe military base, near Chitambo, where durable mukwa wood furniture is made.   An estimate was obtained and the first batch of desks, chairs, beds, office furniture have been delivered (pictured).

Locally made furniture for Chitambo NTS

(Above photo by Agape Village Foundation, taken on a Blackberry mobile phone) Applications are underway for assistance to provide books, teaching aids, computers etc. for the school.   Exploration of communication needs for clinical and training purposes is another vital aspect which is being explored with Macha Works.  Macha has established invaluable internet connectivity at Macha NTS, in Southern Province, and at Mukinge NTS in North Western Province:   Their aim Macha wishes to  provide this to NTS throughout Zambia, and has committed to doign so at Chitambo when possible.  Robert Mulenga, a young man from Chiincluding at Chitambo, is undergoing ICT Champion training at Macha Works.  This involves Internatioanl Computer Driving Liscence (ICDL) Training.  It is hoped that Robert will then lead the ICTdevelopments at Chitambo NTS, as they unfiold.   Macha’s emphasis is on embedding culturally sensitive, community-driven ICT solutions within local communities, through providing training and encouraging local ownership of internet costs.  In addition they are developing pooled learning resources to support hard-pressed rural Nurse Tutors and facilitate student-centred learning.  NES also has expertise in this field and NES Knowledge Services are exploring potential for a knowledge exchange programme including a Zambia –specific Knowledge for Care IT Platform (The Knowledge Network Zambia) and real-time distance-learning resources for continuing professional education (CPD) and training purposes.  This would give nurse tutors and hospital clinicians access to up-to-date information to prepare trainees for grassroots healthcare delivery at remote, rural outreach clinics and health posts.  Two papers on the knowledge exchange programme were presented at  the eLearning Africa 2010 Conference, Lusaka, Zambia (26-28th May): These were well-received and many useful contacts were made, including with Macha Works, suggesting plenty of potential for international collaboration. Emergency communications between Chitambo Hospital, ambulance and outreach clinics are also being explored.  The Agape Village Foundation has provided 2-way radio transmitters in the PfA-funded ambulance and in the hospital.  Partners are keen to explore the impact of these and assess additional ICT infrastructure needs in order to connect the hospital with 7 Rural Health Clinics (RHC) and 19 associated health posts. Additional information Zambia is experiencing a critical shortage of healthcare workforce, particularly nurses and midwives.  The Zambian MOH is scaling up nursing and midwifery training in rural Zambia (5th National Plan, 2006; National Training Operational Plan 2008; National Nursing and Midwifery Strategic Plan, 2009-2013).  This will contribute to improved survival rates, including of mothers and children.  Despite major progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for health, Zambia remains a  low income country with  one of the highest levels of maternal mortality in the world (over 591/100000 live births) and equally high infant and child mortality (approximately 70 and 119/1000 live births respectively).  There is also a deficit of trained nurses and midwives in rural areas (National Nursing and Midwifery Strategic Plan, 2009-2013).  Chitambo Hospital, Central Province, serves a scattered population of around 100,000 with around 500 in-patient and many more outpatient deliveries annually in seven RHC and 19 health associated posts, many of which are barely accessible by road.  The hospital is operating with a higher than average deficit of trained nurses and midwives. The once thriving NTS closed in the 1996 through lack of funding.  Central Province is therefore poorly served, and currently has no rural nurse training facility.  Re-opening the school will provide a major contribution to reducing mortality rates in the Serenje District, and beyond, whilst also boosting local employment.  There is strong community, district and ministerial demand for this.

Poject update (November 2011):

A recent visit to Chitambo, funded through the THET Multi-link Proejct on e-learning (see our other THET webpage: ) provided an opportunity to  assess the progress towards the re-opening of the school.  Most things are in place.  We saw books, computer and other teaching equipment provided by  the Zambian MOH and General Nursing Council (GNC) in storage.  (See the following photos)

We saw the PfA-sponsored furniture (chairs, desks, beds, mattresses etc) tried and tested and ready for use!

The classrooms are completed and ready for action:

The student hostel is also almost ready.    Trainees have been selected to start as soon as the school opens.  Principal Tutor Jonathan Kasoka and Nurse Tutor Levi Chifwiala, have been appointed.   Their houses are almost complete and more tutor housing is being planned.

The NTS developments are welcomed by local health staff including Dr Tiza Mufune, District Director of Health and Matron Hilda Mubanga (pictured below):

There are high hopes of the school re-opening January 2012.  This will depend on GNC inspections.  However, assuming the re-opening goes ahead  as scheduled, this could co-incide with the opening of the Agape Village Foundations’s orphanage (pictured) and what a wonderful double celebration at Chitambo that would be.

January 2012 update

This is a very historic month for Chitambo.  The Nurse Training School opened on 9th January.  The 27 Registred Nurse students started to arrive on Friday 6th and Levi Chifwaila, Nurse Tutor, gave the first lecture was given on 16th.  The opening of the school coincided with a visit to Chitambo by Sarah Wallace, Programme Officer, Medical Aid Films (MAF):

MAF is a UK-based organisation which is producing teaching aid films for patients and staff (Traditional Birth Attendants, Nurses and Junior Doctors).  Films, so far, include Safe Delivery, Prevention of Postpartum Haemorrhage, Neonatal Resuscitation etc.  They are completely free of charge and are geared towards low resource and no resource settings.  Sarah is investigating piloting the films at Chitambo, both at the hospital’s proactive Ante Natal Clinic and at associated Rural Health Clinics.  This provides potential to supplement existing patient education with visual displays.  There may even be potential for the films to be loaded onto new eRanger motorbike ambulances which have been provided to the Serenje District:

With permission of local staff, Sarah obtained some film footage at Chitambo and also gave a favourable report of the readiness of the NTS and hostel for action.  Levi tells us that the school desperately needs a better nurse training model or manikin and Penicuik for Africa is, once again, coming to the rescue.  Jo Vallis appealed to the Health Information for All (HIFA)2015 Global Health Network, for information about sources of appropriate, affordable models.  Ingrid Leardal, from Leardal Global Health ( responded with information about NeoNatalie and MamaNatalie, neonatal and obstetric simulators.  We are investigating these and other options.   If anyone knows of any, which are suitable for wider nurse training, please let us know.  Also, Levi and other staff and students would very much appreciate any recreational books, including novels, (especally science fiction!) to supplement life in the bush.  Please get in touch if you can help and I will direct you as to how to forward these.  You would be making a very valuable contribuition to retaining skilled health satff in this remote, rural location.

Link Requests

Text books (nursing, midwifery, medical); teaching aids of any kind e.g. manikins; charts; visual aids; used computers; bedding/blankets for student hostel; recreational activities for student hostel (e.g. novels, games etc). Donations are also invited for Penicuik for Africa's furniture appeal, in order to complete the second half of the £9,000 order. Please email Jo Vallis, UK Project Co-ordinator for details:

Contact Details

Dr Jo Vallis
Research Officer/UK Project Co-ordinator

NHS Education for Scotland
c/o The Lister

Tel: 0131 650 9382








Mr Levison Chifwaila
Nurse Tutor/Zambian Project Co-ordinator

Chitambo Hospital/Nurse Training School
PO Box 850024

Tel: 0026(0)977571685