NHS Borders builds strong links with Zambian hospital

NHS Borders Chief Executive, Jane Davidson, Dr Dorothy Logie and Chairman John Raine with The Logie Legacy Chair Dr Brian Magowan
NHS Borders Chief Executive, Jane Davidson, Dr Dorothy Logie and Chairman John Raine with The Logie Legacy Chair Dr Brian Magowan

An event to raise awareness of a charity that supports the twinning link between a Zambian hospital and NHS Borders was held recently.

Since The Logie Legacy was founded in 2008, staff from the Borders health board have been supporting St Francis Hospital, a very busy general hospital in a relatively poor rural area of Eastern Provence in Zambia.

Over the years, NHS Borders staff have helped with projects across a number of fields including maternity, paediatrics, physiotherapy, HIV, sexual health, pharmacy, public health, opthalmology, radiology and TB control.

There are ongoing links with the hospital’s nursing and midwifery school and a garden project which provides food for patients.

The current twinning project is a £100,000 water improvement scheme which is approaching completion.

It will have enormous health benefits through providing a clean and reliable water supply to the hospital compound, with connections to 150 buildings.

The work of The Logie Legacy was showcased at the recent launch, which was opened by NHS Borders chairman John Raine.

He said: “Today is a celebration of all that has been achieved by staff volunteers over many years, including those who started this project – the late Sandy Logie supported by his wife Dr Dorothy Logie.

“I have been personally involved in a number of non-health twinning ventures in different places around the world and have seen many fail – perhaps because they did not have the strong ethical core at the heart of the link, unlike our twinning with St Francis.

“ It supports the values we have at NHS Borders and those values are important for the recruitment and retention of staff.

“Such a relationship is the hallmark of a progressive employer, who offers personal and professional development opportunities for staff. Our twinning with St Francis has continued for many years, and it is here to stay.”

Mr Raine also read aloud a letter from the Scottish Government which referenced a successful visit from the Zambian Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya who met with our Minister of International Development and Europe, Dr Alasdair Allan.

The letter stated that Dr Chilufya reported “St Francis stands out in Zambia, the hospital is now one of the centres of excellence due to the work put into it through its partnership with Scotland.”

It was also noted that the trickle-down effect of the long standing partnership, and the regular presence of senior doctors from Scotland in Katete, means doctors from other areas in Zambia are always keen to go to St Francis hospital for six month placements so they too can benefit from the partnership.

The event keynote speaker was Dr Stuart Fergusson, who was the co-lead of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow 2017 report on the value of international volunteering by NHS Scotland workers, ‘Global Citizenship in the Scottish Health Service’.

Dr Fergusson praised the efforts of NHS Borders volunteers and stressed the moral imperative to offer support to low-middle income countries.

The event also showcased a video about St Francis Hospital that was produced by recently returned volunteer Luke Faldon.

Afterwards Dr Dorothy Logie presented a Logie Legacy t-shirt as a small token of gratitude to 13-year-old Tara Brennan who has raised nearly £1000 for the Legacy with various bake sales.

The evening was drawn to a close by the NHS Borders staff choir ‘Harmony in Health’ singing a rousing Zambian piece that was very well received by event attendees.

All of this work has been made possible by funds raised through The Logie Legacy.

To find out more about The Logie Legacy’s work, or how you can get involved, visit www.logielegacy.com/how-can-you-help.