Life expectancy has increased dramatically over the last century, and Zambia is no exception. Life expectancy at birth in Zambia remains at 58 years while the worldwide average is 71 years. Children are especially vulnerable to early mortality. Nearly 9% of Zambian children do not live to the age of 5. Common causes include malaria, respiratory infections, diarrhea, and malnutrition.
Access to healthcare is one barrier to improving this outlook and quality of life. Physician density is approximately one doctor per 5,000 Zambians. Oral health is also a contributing cause to lower quality of life. Currently there is about one dentist per 220,000 Zambians.
Adventist Health International has a rich history of providing healthcare in Zambia and across Africa. For reasons not entirely known, most Adventist healthcare institutions in this region were originally built in rural areas. While these facilities provide valuable services, this trend has resulted in three primary challenges:
The goal of the Chalala Woodlands project is to meet these challenges and improve the delivery of healthcare in Zambia. As demand for quality healthcare has increased in the blossoming urban centers, there is a tremendous opportunity for Christian service and mission.
Adventist Health International (AHI) currently manages five facilities in Zambia. Mwami Adventist Hospital and Yuka Adventist Hospital provide services in rural Zambia. Three of these institutions are located in or near the city of Lusaka. AHI is seeking to expand its reach into this population center, and Lusaka donated a ten acre parcel of land to help launch this venture.
Phase 1 of the project is the creation of a multi-specialty clinic. Initially the clinic will feature ophthalmology, pediatrics, general practice, and dentistry. Located in the Chalala Woodlands neighborhood of Lusaka, the clinic will help provide state of the art care to the urban area.
The location and quality of facility will also help attract quality physicians that may otherwise not be interested in working at AHI institutions in rural areas. The clinic will also feature a practice model uncommon in Africa where physicians will share in the profits generated by the facility.
Additionally, the clinic will serve as a financially sustainable hub able to support rural institutions with fewer resources. Chalala will increase synergy between urban and rural populations, expanding AHI's mission in Zambia.