A small team of California-based organizations whose leadership have roots in Zambia teamed up for a shared philanthropic cause. The team has used its resources and contacts to acquire, store, transport
and distribute over 1000 pounds of medical supplies for Zambia. The organizations include, MSI International, Shivam International Realtors, Tarsadia Foundation, Anekant Community Center, and Zambia-USA Chamber of Commerce. The team provided all the procurement, financial, transportation, storage and facilitation services needed to make these items available for donation to Zambia. A few of the people involved in this donation visited Zambia recently and met with representatives from Ndola Central and Arthur Davidson Hospitals where they inquired about their needs. Some of the items requested have been sourced and are included in the shipment.
In addition to Ndola Central Hospital and Arthur Davidson Hospital, Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ) will also receive supplies. CHAZ has 151 member health institutions. The majority of these health institutions are based in rural areas. They comprise 34 Hospitals (including 9 nurses and laboratory technologists Training Schools), 77 Health Centers, and 31 Community-Based Organizations (CBOs). Together these members account for over 50% of formal healthcare in rural areas and roughly 35% of healthcare nationally. source: CHAZ. Arun Arya of Shivam Realtors who was born in Ndola and moved to the US over 25 years ago, stated that distance and a reliable system of distribution had made it difficult for many to provide support or get more involved with activities on the ground in Zambia. “The problem is not the supplies, the problem is the means of getting them to the right people and regularly. We have been away from home for so long that we are not familiar with all the processes and procedures.” Arya said. Dr Shah of Anekant Community Center (ACC) reiterated the same sentiments as Mr Arya. Dr Shah through the Anekant Community Center has put on many Community health fairs locally and internationally in India, Zambia, Malawi, and South Africa. Shah further stated that he believes that this collaboration has the potential to facilitate growth and development in other areas besides philanthropy. Mr. Arun Arya and Dr. Nitin Shah are leading a team of doctors to Lusaka and Ndola for a Medical and Surgical mission from July 28 to August 1. The doctors will comprise 4 anesthesiologists, 2 ophthalmologists and 1 dermatologist. The doctors will volunteer their services at Lusaka Eye hospital and Ndola Central hospital. The team would have preferred that the arrival of the container coincide with the arrival of the doctors but logistical delays will have the container arriving later. The donated supplies are expected to arrive in Zambia in September.
Zambia USA Chamber of Commerce founder Robert Sichinga Jnr said that he is excited about the donation and how the strengths of the various players complimented each other and made this donation a reality.
“There are many healthcare facilities and not-for-profit US organizations that have access to an abundance of excess medical equipment and supplies. Many of these supplies and equipment can go a long way in alleviating some healthcare needs, particularly in the under served areas. Additionally, there are many Zambians in the Diaspora and friends of Zambia with access to such resources, however, as is the case in trade and investment, you have the resources on one end and the need on the other, but no reliable, efficient and trustworthy conduit to connect the two. This is one of the goals of the Zambia USA Chamber of Commerce. The establishment of an efficient conduit can benefit commerce as well as philanthropic activities.” Sichinga recently became acquainted with Mr Krishna Bhakta an affiliate of Tarsadia foundation. Bhakta then made the introductions to the rest of the team and the rest is history. This past April, during a visit to Los Angeles by Zambian Ambassador to the United States of America, HE Palan Mulonda spoke with Bhakta at a Zambian meet and greet event. Bhakta
shared the vision of the team. Three months after the Ambassadors visit to Los Angeles, the team had finalized its arrangements for 7 volunteer physicians to travel to Zambia and the shipment of the medical supplies. During a conference call with the team, HE Ambassador Mulonda expressed and his heartfelt gratitude on behalf of the Zambian government for what he called “a humbling selfless gesture.” Ambassador Mulonda called for a conference call with the members of the team mentioned above to thank them and wish those traveling safe travels to Zambia. During the call, the Ambassador took the opportunity to mention that the Zambian government is in the process of developing a Diaspora Policy which will focus on identifying ways to harness the skills and abilities of the Diaspora with the goal of developing Zambia. “There are many Zambians in the Diaspora who have been doing great work quietly yet effectively.” He expressed that there is a need for these efforts to be highlighted and appreciated. The Ambassador repeatedly reiterated that his mission, the embassy, should be a resource and a facilitator for the teams current and future activities. During the call Dr Shah shared three other future projects that are currently in development by the team for Zambia. Dr Shah has been trying to expose Zambia to a vast array of philanthropic and commercial opportunities available from the US. He expressed confidence that the current team with the support of the government through Ambassador Mulondas office, will see these projects come to fruition. Some of the items donated include, Hemodialysis machine donated by Mr. BU Patel of Tarsadia Foundation, Oxygen Concentrators, Humidifies, Circumcision kits, CPAP machines, to mention a few. Shipping costs were donated by Manu and Rika Shah of MS International. For questions please contact: Arun Arya. email: [email protected] Dr Nitin Shah email: [email protected]: Robert Sichinga. email: [email protected]