Passion for global women’s health takes Chimwemwe to Namibia
Ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March, we are highlighting the work of Dr Chimwemwe Kalumbi, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, who is helping tackle global maternal health in Namibia and Malawi.
Driven by a passion for advancing women’s health globally, Chimwemwe spent ten days of her annual leave volunteering at hospitals in Windhoek, capital city of Namibia last month.
She said: “The trip was a scoping mission organised by Adam Global Health Initiative to find out how the country’s healthcare system can be improved. I was one of three obstetricians involved and there were also ophthalmologists, trauma surgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, emergency care clinicians, nurses and primary care physicians.
“My interest is in improving maternal health in sub-Saharan Africa and I do a lot of charity work in this area. Having grown up in Malawi and trained in South Africa, I understand the difficulties and challenges of healthcare in these countries, and I want to give something back as much as I can.”
During the visit, Chimwemwe and colleagues organised training in emergency obstetrics for junior doctors and midwives as well as taking part in routine ward rounds and patient care.
She added: “One of the important factors in reducing maternal and neonatal mortality is learning from when things have gone wrong and maintaining skills in emergency obstetrics.
“Many maternal deaths in sub-Saharan Africa are avoidable but lack of resources and healthcare facilities, or difficulties accessing those facilities because of geographical distances, plus the shortage of healthcare professionals make circumstances very, very challenging.
“Figures are improving for maternal and neonatal mortality in Africa, but there is still a long way to go to achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of global maternal mortality of lower than 70 per 100,000 by 2030. Every little helps, however, so these small scale, projects on the ground are what I’m keen to get involved with.”
Receiving a warm welcome from the Namibian President Hage Geingob (pictured above), Chimwemwe and the group of visiting clinicians, drawn from across the UK, enjoyed a dinner at the President’s State House and met with the prime minister and government officials.
The end of the Adam Global Health Initiative’s scoping and fact-finding mission promises to be just the start of this journey to help Namibia. Watch this space.