NeuroSolve project field visit in the Eastern province of Zambia

A field mission was undertaken by the NeuroSolve Project Team to the Eastern province of Zambia. The aim of the mission was to introduce the Project to the Provincial and District Health Authorities in the would-be study districts and visit the hospitals in these areas.  The team comprised of Prof Helena Ngowi (PI SUA, Tanzania), Dr Bernard Ngowi (PI UDSM, Tanzania), Prof Kabemba Evans Mwape (PI UNZA, Zambia), Dr Gideon Zulu (Co-PI MoH, UNZA, Zambia), Dr Lisa van Acker (PhD student, UGent, Belgium), and Dr Chomba Mashina (PhD student, UNZA, Zambia).

The team visited the Provincial Health Director for Eastern Province Dr Mathews Ngambi and District Health Directors for Nyimba, Petauke, Chipata and Katete Districts. The Project was welcomed and the officials eagerly looking forward to the commencement of the study. Information on the number of people with epilepsy in the districts was provide to the team by the District Health Officials.

As the study will involve admission of study participates during the treatments, the team visited hospitals in Nyimba, Petauke, Chipata and Katete districts to investigate their capacity to admit and also carry out basic laboratory tests. The hospitals visited included Nyimba District Hospital, Petauke District Hospital, Kalindawalo General Hospital, Chipata Central Hospital, Chipata District Hospital and St. Francis Mission Hospital in Katete. All the hospitals except for Petauke District Hospital have enough bed capacities to accommodate the study patients including laboratories that are capable of carrying out tests that will be needed during the study. The team visited the CT Scanner at Chipata Central Hospital which is one of the scanners earmarked to be used during the study and were informed that it had not been functioning for almost two years owing to a damaged component that required replacing. During the visit, the team was informed that a new CT scanner had been installed at the recently built but yet to be commissioned Mambwe District Hospital in Mambwe district about 125km from Chipata. A visit to the new hospital revealed that the scanner was already been used for emergencies as it was the only one in the province. The hospital staff assured the team of their availability should the Project require to use the scanner for its study participants.  

The Project Team is very grateful to the Provincial ad District Health Directors for their kind words about the projects and the hospital staff for their willingness to participate in the study.

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