February 24, 2023

Anita, Gurdeep and myself arrived on the evening of Wed the 15th.

Gurdeep and Anita dove straight in. Their focus was exploring the capacity building in social determinants and partnership work culminating in some movement at Rasper and coordinating a partnership pentagram meeting.

The next day we picked up Kevin and Lois, and spent some time with Dr. Edward Chagonda and Prof. Hoffie Conradie and the Family Medicine Registrars. There are now 4 first years, 3 second years and 2 fourth year registrars.

During this week Alison and I also met with the Deans of both Medical schools and the program director of the NUST residency.

We spoke again about the challenges retaining registrars being primarily financial. They are very welcoming of the donors we have identified to support the course fees (USD200 a year) for all the students if they apply, and for 2 x 1 year stipends of $500 a month. This can be administered through the MOU both universities have with our Zimbabwe partner (ZimCan Zimbabwe).

We also talked about linking community health worker development to the stipend and the suggestion was to link it as supporting a community project for them when they do that block. I hope to form that up in the last week and have an idea of what that looks like.

Kevin started teaching the Point Of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) on his own. We had some challenges initially finding space, and learnings, re models (they were given a stipend for staying for a half day, but some thought they were only getting one scan and then wanted to leave straight away), but we sorted out that communication piece by the end.  The rest of his team trickled in and by the 4th day there were three instructors; Kevin, Ben and Ryan. Lois is writing up the story for us. They went off on their mid trip break.

During this time, Gurdeep, Anita, Alison and I drove down to Bulawayo to meet with the NUST team (see above). They were very appreciative of the donation that Susan had organized and were going to get us a list of supplies they needed for future containers.

We also met with the new Provincial Medical Director, (PMD) of Matabeleland South who was supportive of working together, but wanted the MOU with the Ministry of Health that the ZimCan PVO is working on, signed first.

In addition, we met with Di Charlesley of the Bulawayo Helps Network which is doing similar work to Zimbabwe Gecko in this area. They have a farming program they are implementing and are moving into health, particularly for pensioners. More of that later on as we had 2 follow up trips to Bulawayo to flesh that out.

Everyone coalesced on the weekend with some adventures in the process, which for some of the team included sleeping in cars, energetic discussions at park gates around the difference between a driver and an unlicensed guide, walking with Elephants, Victoria falls wildlife viewing and so it goes on.

Next week is Karanda!