HIV and AIDS, malaria, TB and diarrhoeal diseases are major health problems in Zambia. The HIV and AIDS pandemic has pushed most families below the poverty line. One in six adults and thirty-three thousand children are infected with the HIV virus. Longevity is forty two years of age. Malaria is the biggest killer of man, most deaths occur in children under the age of five in Sub-Sahara Africa. Lack of safe drinking water increases the risk of diarrhoeal diseases, which can be fatal in infants.
The Butterfly Tree runs a number of health programmes in rural clinics, which receive very little government funding. The most crucial are malaria prevention to outreach communities in five Chiefdoms, Mukuni, Sekute, Musokotwane and Moomba, providing mosquito nets and educational workshops. In 2015 we launched a new malaria prevention project, providing two safe products, which were first distributed in the Mukuni and Sekute Chiefdoms, and most recently in Nyawa and Moomba. This innovative method is proving to be highly effecvtive.
HIV prevention education is essential, encouraging people to be tested in order to know their status; support, counselling and treatment are also available. Our most successful HIV prevention method, using trained peer educators, works well in schools and helps to prevent new cases of HIV. Since 2006 we have provided vast amounts of medical supplies and equipment to these rural health centres.
We have advanced maternity care at Mukuni, Mambova, Mahalulu, Singwamba, Kasiya, Musokotwane and Sikaunzwe clinics, adding maternity wings and women’s shelters. Whenever possible we fund treatment for children, a considerable number have received financial assistance for operations, special diets, medication and physiotherapy.
Over twenty thousand people are dependent on the funding and medical supplies we provide to rural clinics. An entire Health Centre was added at Mahalulu and a rural clinic was built at Muchambila in 2014. Two further women’s shelters were added in 2015 and a new clinic for Mambova, to replace the old one, was opened in 2016. In 2017 we greatly improved the drainage and sanitation at Mukuni Health Centre. In November 2018 we completed a new health centre, which included a main clinic, maternity unit, women’s shelter and latrines.
In October 2017 we started a pioneer project in schools for the distribution of mosquito nets. The aim is to provide every pupil and teacher with a mosquito nets, 1,400 pupils and teachers at River View were the first beneficiaries. For the past 16 months there has been no absenteeism from malaria. In November 2018 all pupils and teachers at Sikaunzwe and Kawewe Schools have been given mosquito nets.
We have an environmental officer on our team in Zambia and work with highly qualified government employed medical staff. We have an experienced Youth Worker on our UK team.
Our support is vital – without it these vulnerable people would have limited medical services.