The year 2018 has helped us to continue growing and learning while improving our services. This year was indeed a historical year for us at Lakeshore Hope and Relief Zambia, as it helped us truly define who we are and what we represent. It was a year that we will reflect throughout our existence on our strengths and weaknesses.
During the year, we took very bold steps to refocus our programming and targeting of our beneficiaries. To that end, our dedicated team of Advisory Board Members together with management made a decision to re-shape our mission. A resolution was unanimously made to direct our energies to serving the lives of victims of road traffic accidents in Zambia. This is one are that has continued to pose a serious burden on the national burden as well as at household and individual levels.
The country loses human and social capital as a result of untimely deaths and severe and permanent disabilities caused by it. It also leads in loss of productivity as millions of days are lost as a result of prolonged treatment. Our health care system is overwhelmed as it lacks adequate technical and resource capacity to handle the problem brought by it.
As an organisation that focusses on patient wellbeing, we have committed ourselves to addressing the critical aspect of post accident care by providing support through rehabilitation, access to justice and fair insurance compensation and advocacy of appropriate legislative policies the help prevent and protect the victims of road traffic accidents.
Going forward, we shall dedicate our energies to galvanise the support of other Stakeholders, and Institutions to ensure that we have an effective movement that advocates, and provides critical services that will not only prevent avoidable deaths but also prevent disabilities to the affected. We shall endeavour to cultivate relationships through partnerships and alliances to have an amplified voice and enhanced service provision.
As we look forward to the year 2019 and more years to come, we shall invest in organic growth to increase our technical specialisation and resource capacities.
We remain more optimistic now than never that we shall succeed in our mission of serving the most vulnerable populations in our country and contribute to the nation’s development agenda of Sustainable Development through the year 2030.
I met Smart Banda while receiving treatment at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia, in the month of April, 2017. Smart was a 38 years old male and a professional drumstick player with renowned music mistrials, the Sakala Brothers. Smart narrated his adventurous career in music and that he had travelled the world to countries including, England, Poland, German, China, Canada to mention a few.
He was happily married with two daughters and a boy. According to him, he drew a lot of satisfaction from his family.
On a fateful day of the traffic crash, Smart retired from a nearby social club and took a pedestrian exercise to get home. It was here that he met his fate, a car crashed into him through a hit and run. He was knocked unconscious and it took well-wishers to evacuate him to the hospital. He had sustained severe multiple fractures on his femur and tibia. He was admitted at the University Teaching hospital for more treatment.
Smart spent more than 79 days at UTH without any treatment or surgical procedure on him. The doctors advised him to look for money (ZMW 21,000) so that he can buy a k-nail for femur fixation. As he was the breadwinner in the family, raising such a huge amount was a nightmare especially that he had been hospitalised for close to three months. As his neighbour in the ward, I watched him lament every night and day on where and how he would raise such funds. I watched him slowly deteriorate into a psychological trauma. He acted withdrawn from the rest of the patients. He had no relative to care for him or a visitor.
Because he could not raise the money as suggested by the Doctors, his injuries became sceptic and now doctors told him that, amputation was the only option. Two day later, he was taken to the Operating Theatre where his mid – lower limb was amputated. As his fellow patients in the ward, we could not resist to shed tears on what we witnessed.
Every November, 18, the world commemorates the World Day of Remembrance for road traffic crashes victims. These are loved ones whose precious lives were lost through death, permanent and severe impairment resulting in permanent or partial disabilities. On this day global citizens are called to reflect on the catastrophic effects of irresponsible road usage. For those that are affected, we urge them to provide support to their relatives and families of the deceased, the public and road users are reminded to take precaution to use roads in manner that protects and treats everyone equal. The government and other state actors are called to continue putting in place measures in form of policies that protect the most vulnerable, laws that prevent road crashes and creating an conducive legislative environment that will enable victims particularly the most vulnerable to access justice and fair insurance compensation.
As an organisation placed in dealing with the most vulnerable populations without access to health care, we welcome the move by the Government of the Republic of Zambia to put into law the ‘National Health Insurance Scheme”. This facility will enable many particularly victims of road traffic crashes to access affordable care and treatment.
As we all are potential victims of road traffic crashes, we appeal to the members of the public to support this progressive bill that will not only save many lives but enable timely recovery and social integration of victims thereby contributing to the family and the nation