Fields of work Nursing
UK Partner Friends of Chitambo
Developing Country Partner Chitambo School of Nursing and other community organisations including hospital and orphanage
Contact Dr Jo Vallis, Co-ordinator, c/o 15 West Street, PENICUIK, MIDLOTHIAN EH26 9DG, SCOTLAND Tel: 07791262918 email:


Friends of Chitambo: Registered Charity Number SC044337

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, ISBN: 978-1-4567-9609-9.  This book contains details of how to contribute to supporting the new nursing school at Chitambo). The hospital was founded in 1908, 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): This small, Scottish charitable organisation, raised funds to buy an ambulance as a centenary gift for the hospital (August 2008, pictured).



Chitambo centenary ambulance

Founded in 2005, in the wake of the G8 Summit (Gleneagles), PfA aims to make poverty history in specific African communities.  Chitambo was PfA’s first and main project and the organisation provided diagnostic equipment and the ambulance to the hospital.  The Chitambo community requested further assistance to re-open the hospital’s nurse training school (NTS) which was closed in 1996 through lack of funding.  This request was the dream of one dedicated Zambian nurse, Mr Levison Chifwaila (Levi), who had been Charge Nurse at Chitambo Hospital for a number of years.  With a particular interest in rural health care (paediatrics especially), Levi joined with international Friends to lobby for the re-opening of the school.  His wish was fully endorsed by the Zambian Government  which funded the re-furbishment of existing school buildings in 2010 (see pictures below) and re-opened the nursing school in June 2011.   Keen to further his education, in preparation for a rural Nurse teaching career, Levi undertook a BSc Nursing at the University of Zambia.  On graduating, he requested to be posted to the Chitambo School of Nursing once it re-opened.  Meantime, he gained Tutoring experience at Kabwe School of Nursing, in Central Province.  As soon as the Chitambo school opened, Levi was, to his joy, transferred there.  An experienced Principal Tutor had been appointed.   New Tutor housing was constructed and an additional classroom administration block have also been built.  By 2013 a second student hostel was underway, and will enable the school to double the student intake with positive implications for increased local health workforce.  The first student intake took up residence in January 2012.  They consisted of  27 Registered Nurse trainees, from all over Zambia (pictured).  Scottish organisations PfA and NHS Education for Scotland (NES) worked to assist the Zambian MOH through furnishing the school and contributing to aspects of knowledge exchange in order to support the local tutorial staff.

Friends of Chitambo (Registered Charity Number SC044337): By 2013, developments had grown so rapidly at Chitambo, with such interest from Friends (old and new) around the world, that it was decided to form Friends of Chitambo as an independent organisation in its own right.  We have obtained charitable status and a group of Founder Members, in Zambia, Scotland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and elsewhere, is now working together on a range of community-driven activities in support of the Chitambo community and to foster global Friendship and exchange.  Friends applied for and obtained full charity status, which is assisting our fundraising potential.  Our primary aims are to support health projects, including the hospital, ambulance and nurse training school.  However, we also hope to be able to provide some support to other community oranisations such as the orphanage, schools, and the church, where possible.   We produce a quarterly newsletter outlining our activities.   Please see links to these below.

Zambian Project co-ordinator

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

New classroom block
New classroom block
At work on the Principal Tutor’s office
At work on the Principal Tutor’s office
Student dining room
Student dining room
Patients who will  benefit from Chitambo NTS
Patients who will  benefit from Chitambo NTS

(Above photos by Paul Vallis)

Background and updates:

November 2011:

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

Locally made furniture

Locally made furniture for Chitambo NTS

New Books for the NTS

New Desktops

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

Testing a PFA bed

New student mattress


The classroom was completed and ready for action:

Levi Lecturing

The student hostel was almost ready.    Trainees had been selected to start as soon as the school opens.  An experienced Principal Tutor and Nurse Tutor had been appointed.   Their houses were almost complete and more tutor housing was being planned.


Welcome by local staff


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



Jo with Dr Mufune

Matron Hilda (left)


There were high hopes of the school re-opening January 2012.  This would depend on GNC inspections.  However, assuming the re-opening went ahead as scheduled, it could coincide with the opening of the Agape Village Foundations orphanage (pictured).




January 2012

This was 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.


First intake


Medical Aid Films:

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.  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.

October 2012

Teaching has progressed very well at the nursing school over the first year and students completed their first module and have been on placement at other centres including Serenje and Chiloinga.  It was reported that the school would benefit from a nurse training manikin and Penicuik for Africa once again fundraised to supply a Resusci Annie model (pictured).

Resusci Annie at Chitambo:

Resusci Annie

(Photo by MAF)

This was transported from UK to Zambia by a medical consultant who was attending a maternal and child health conference in Lusaka.  Levi Chifwaila arranged for the model’s transport to Chitambo.  Whilst the model is useful for cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training, it is less so for basic nursing care such as bed bathing.  Locating an affordable nurse training simulator, which did not require expensive upkeep and maintenance, is a real challenge.


December 2012

A text message from Chitambo shows Zambian government committment to developments there as well as the effects of joint partnership efforts to put Chitambo on the map:

"Wonders are happening here.  Chitambo has been delared a district with a 5 year development plan.  It's amazing.  Thanks for your support and always thinking of Chitamo.  These are the fruits."

2013, a year of happenings!:

Read all about it in our quarterly newsletters:

Friends of Chitambo News Issue 1 (April 2013)

Friends of Chitambo Issue 2 (July 2013)

Friends of Chitambo Issue 3 (Christmas 2013)


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.  Until the Zambian government re-opened it in 2011/12, Central Province was poorly served, with no rural nurse training facility.  Re-opening the school is a major contribution to community re-generation, through increasing health workforce, reducing local mortality rates and boosting local employment.  This can only be good.


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 to towards sponsoring student scholarships and helping furnish the seond student hostel.  Please email Jo Vallis, Friends of Chitambo Coordinator:

Contact Details

Dr Jo Vallis
Friends of Chitambo Co-ordinator

c/o 15 West Street



Tel: 0131 650 9382



Mr Levison Chifwaila
Senior Nurse Tutor/Zambian Project Co-ordinator

Chitambo Hospital/Nurse Training School
PO Box 850024

Central Province

Tel: 0026(0)977571685