Stories

The need for children’s medical care in Zambia





Zambia is a beautiful country and a natural resource-rich. The country is blessed with numerous tourist attractions, among them are several waterfalls with most being in the north and several national parks and safaris which have wild animals. It is home to one of the seven wonders of the world, Victoria Falls, locally referred to as  the Mosi-oa-Tunya or “Smoke That Thunders.” Zambia is the source of the Zambezi river and is found at the center of Southern Africa. Zambia shares its border with eight countries: Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. There are 10 provinces with diverse cultural practices, over 70 languages actively spoken, and a favorable climate condition suitable for agriculture. 

Zambia has a population of over 18 million. Lusaka is the capital city and located in the highest populated province in the country. Copperbelt province has the second largest population in the country and the main economic drivers of the province are mining activities. Some parts of the country are more developed compared to others. More than 50% of people in Zambia earn less than the international poverty line of $1.90 per day.

With many people in the country living in poverty, access to specialized healthcare for the majority is not available, especially for those living in rural areas. The World Health Organization reports that the doctor-patient ratio in Zambia is 1 physician for every 16,600 people, as opposed to the WHO’s recommended standard of 1 physician to every 1,000 people. As a result, people resort to traditional treatments, such as local herbalists, which are easier to access than specialized hospitals. Since those in rural areas rely on farming and fishing, those born with disabilities that affect mobility are unable to provide for themselves. It is also difficult for families of children living with disabilities since their caregivers often must suspend their income-generating activities to take care of their children.

CURE estimates that over 470,000 children in Zambia are living with disabilities. The CURE Children’s Hospital of Zambia is one of the few hospitals in the country that is well equipped with state-of-the-art world-class equipment and specialized personnel to provide care to children with treatable disabilities. The hospital collaborates with local partners and also does routine outreach programs to reach children with disabilities throughout Zambia.

Dorcas is one of the children that came to CURE Zambia for help. She comes from a rural area in the northern part of the country and was born with clubfoot. Because of the lack of access to specialized health care in her community, Dorcas did not have any form of treatment for 14 years. Two years before her surgery, she dropped out of school due to the distance between her home and the nearest school. Thanks to a local partner, Dorcas was brought to CURE Zambia where she underwent life-transforming surgery. Today, she is clubfoot-free! She was given a new lease on life and was readmitted to school.

Dorcas is like many other children with disabilities in Zambia. The majority live in poverty and have limited access to specialized health care. Even when access to specialized treatment is available, most do not have the capacity to pay for surgery. 

With your continued support, we can reach and serve more children like Dorcas with surgical healing treatment that will improve their lives for years to come.

To support a CURE hospital and a child’s life-changing surgery, click here.