Jellybean 105 Emergency Medicine in Zambia

At the moment there is only one public emergency department in Zambia that actually has a trained emergency physician. It only has one. That’s the boss. It’s Mwiche Chiluba. (@mwichiluba)

A few years back she literally quit her old job, packed her bags and set off to South Africa to learn how they are practicing emergency medicine. Four years later she completed her training and packed her bags again.

This is not a one woman show but it is pretty close. Across the world, in every continent, there are women and men like Dr Chiluba that are in the vanguard at the front line of the expansion of critical care. This is not an African thing, this is not a lower middle income countries thing, this is everywhere. Emergency medicine is still relatively new. We are still developing EM.  We have more in common than many appreciate. We can help each other and learn from each other.

Zambia, a landlocked nation in southern part of the continent of Africa with a population of approx 17 million people. Health care parameters are improving very fast. Huge recent improvements in maternal mortality and childhood mortality are a great indication of how fast things are developing. Emergency is a new discipline. 

One of the nicest things about how Mwiche sees it all is that, with not one single emergency physician to help her, if you ask Mwiche what she is doing to train more doctors, she is immediately careful to emphasise that you cannot deliver a good emergency medical system with emergency physicians alone. She has solid nursing and primary health support but she wants triage systems, paramedics, specialist support. Triage is a developing art in Zambia. In Mwiche’s hospital even though she has some experienced critical care nursing staff, she cannot always afford to have those staff on triage. Having an emergency physician in every hospital is a target but so is having a sound triage system.

A great insight into one nations emergency medicine and the huge role that nursing professionals play in healthcare delivery. Nurses carry the weight. Lest we forget. 

At the SMACC event in Sydney in 2019 the organising committee invited emergency medicine ambassadors from around the world. The Jellybean Podcast was lucky to be able to catch up with a number of these amazing people. Thank you to Mwiche for coming on the podcast and thank you to the SMACC people for having the foresight to see that we need to hear voices like Mwiches. We have a lot to learn.

Links are good;

The Jellybean Podcast is a funny little thing. We advocate and collaborate. In the coming months there will be a load of new interviews. A very mixed bag of different subjects and different voices from different events and different backgrounds. We kind of need people to subscribe to be able to keep going.

Look out for a series co-hosted with feminem.org and two with www.nowem.org . We have a collection of rising international leaders in emergency medicine from the Pacific, Africa and South America. We are very proud to be sharing #SMACCreach interviews with badEM.co.za and www.afjem.com focused on the rapidly developing emergency medicine discipline in countries across Africa. There are a bunch of interviews with young nurses, doctors and paramedics just getting going in education. (#NewWaveFOAM). There are two great interviews from dontforgetthebubbles.com. (Don’t Forget to go to DFTB2019 in London!)
And there are a few surprises too.
Diversity. Variety. Inclusiveness. These podcasts are for the enquiring mind with eclectic interests. I have often said that I would like to interview pretty much everyone that listens to this podcast.
Talk to us, we will listen.

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Dr Doug Lynch MA MBBS MPHTM. Critical Carer. Pathological Polymath. Medical Journeyman. Idealist. Feminist. Father. Friend. Melbourne | @TheTopEnd | JellyBeans | Enquiring Minds |

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