Friday, 8 March 2013

Medyouth update.

Medyouth Update!

Hi, my name is Gamu. I’m currently in my fourth year of study at King’s college London. I have been involved in Project Zimbabwe  (PZ) since I started uni. Last year (2011) I was Medyouth Coordinator and had the opportunity to travel with a team to Zimbabwe (details of this trip can be found on the previous blog posts). However I wanted to update the blog by giving an update of the Medyouth project and the progress we’ve made a year later.

For those who are new to the project:

Giving a brief overview of Medyouth, for those who are new to the project:

-          ‘Medyouth is a sub-project of Project Zimbabwe which involves a group of students travelling from the UK and meeting students in Zimbabwe to work on the PZ aims of supporting the education of students and benefiting the local community of the students.’

 Over the past few years, this has become more specifically the delivering of healthcare textbooks, and more excitingly, outreaching into schools. The Medyouth programme vision is to see role model young people go into Zimbabwean secondary schools and give life skills sessions, topics ranging from puberty, relationships, health awareness and career advice. We hope to have a part in positively influencing the young people of Zimbabwe. This programme also allows young adults in Zimbabwe to give back to the Zimbabwean community in hope to contribute to a great future for Zimbabwe.

In 2012 the UK team, along with Patty (Medyouth Coordinator Zimbabwe), was able to get permission from the Ministry of Education Bulawayo to get the programme up and running in Bulawayo Schools. The aim is to have junior doctors and university students throughout the year involved in regular end-of term outreach sessions in various schools around the city. Hopefully 2013, a UK team will be able to join this group of students and get a valuable cultural experience working with young people in Zimbabwe. Aims for 2013 involve getting the Bulawayo Programme more established with additional sessions and also getting the Medyouth programme into schools around Harare.

So this summer the UK team went into schools and interacted with schoolchildren, answering the many questions young people had about relationships, puberty and health. Exciting sessions where held and what I enjoyed best were the ice-breaker games! It was great to see everyone – volunteers and children – break out of their shell, and feel comfortable to be real around eachother and ask those burning questions. Of course being back Zimbabwe was awesome for me, the sunshine, landscape and happy familiar faces but what was best were the friendships built. (could put pictures here)

We were also able to deliver donated textbooks to the new Mpilo Hospital Library opening soon and we hope to deliver more throughout the year!

Whether you are reading this blogpost from Zimbabwe or UK please get in touch. If you are interested in getting involved in this exciting project, you can email to get in touch with me. Or if you would like to support the project please feel free to donate through our blog page: link can be found to the right of the page.

All in a Days work by Anon.

Hi Guys,  i hope this post gets you both thinking and talking .The author wished to remain unamed but enjoy.

All in a Day’s Work by Anon.

The usual untimely call came again. I’m beginning to hate my ringtone. I pick up, the other voice on the other end of the line asks, “Is this Dr ......?”

Yeah that is me, a Junior Resident Medical Officer in the ministry of health. After 5 years of medical school here I am a Doctor, whoopee!  However, when that call comes in from casualty I almost wish I wasn’t. I almost wish they had rung a wrong number. The puzzle is that I spent 5 years being taught how to interact and handle a patient but I’m most happy when I’m not attending to one. Hence whenever I have finished my quota of the day’s duties I dash for the exit at lightning speed before the nurse yells out “there is a i.v cannulla for u to insert here” or “there are relatives wanting to see you.”

Anyway there is no escape this time I am Dr ...... and I am the Doctor on call. With her best attempt to be polite and professional she informs me that there are patients waiting for me to see them in casualty. She does that as if she knows that if she becomes rude I will use her as the scapegoat for the reason why I didn’t decide to come down there and see these sick people. Unfortunately for her I don’t have to be mutually polite because...because...well just because!

 So I make my way down there. It is a 200m walk from my solitary room of residence to the hospital. Each step of the way, my mind is trying to prepare me for what is ahead. I am trying to predict what is awaiting me.  In a space of a few minutes I go through the entire Textbook of Medicine and the rare things come to mind first. “Will it be Systemic Lupus, will it be Rheumatoid Arthritis, will it be a Wolf Parkinson White arrhythmia, will it be idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis? But then again this is Zimbabwe.” It is usually the cocktail of HIV patients on ARVs with some sort of opportunistic infection, most commonly TB. “TB, TB, TB everywhere!” is what a lecturer used to say. She couldn’t be more right. It is either TB meningitis or Pulmonary TB or TB adenitis or TB pericarditis or simply put, disseminated TB. The youthful thirst for vain glory wishes for the diagnosis of the rare syndromes but it is the same stuff all-day Groundhog every day.

I finally arrive at the casualty entrance and shocker stuns my eyes. There is an entire rally of people filling the whole place. On the phone the nurse made it sound as if there were only 3 patients but this looks like 3 dozen. There are people on the benches, people on the beds some on the floor, some running about with security trying desperately to restrain them. Is this Gaza or Lebanon or some other war zone? A voice inside reminds me, “they are all here for you, so you better man-up!”

It is at that moment where humanity departs and in its place remains this cold calculating scientist who is entirely objective in his thinking. This ‘Mr Hyde’ has no time to show genuine emotional compassion for his patients. ‘He’ certainly has no time to tolerate old grannies who seem to be in pain from their hair to their toe nails. ‘He’ has no time for relatives who are inquisitive for an explanation of the diagnosis. ‘He’ has no emotional ration to spare for the patient who can’t afford the medication or the vital laboratory or radiological investigation needed.

I begin clerking patient, after patient, after patient. The all-so evident shortage of resources does not make the going easier. For the diabetic there are no glucometer strips to do a quick blood glucose measurement, for the hypertensive patients there is only one sphygmanometer , for the patients is pain I can only offer them paracetamol, there are no available stat doses of antibiotics, no urine catheters, no nasogastric tubes, the Xray machine is down again,  even the thermometer!  The lack of equipment and resources just adds on to the stress. It now becomes naive and foolish to wish to diagnose the rare diseases and syndromes that require intricate investigations when I can’t even confirm a fever!

When faced with this situation there are two options; Improvise or Compromise! This just adds more weight to the tonne of pressure already on my shoulders. So throughout the call I vacillate between improvising and compromising. Unfortunately it is the latter that I end up doing more.

“Oh, Oh, Oh here comes one of those relatives again”. She has the audacity or ignorance rather to complain.  She was shouting at the only 2 nurses available but now is shouting at me. She brought her very critical father but they have been waiting for 3 hours for the doctor to see them.  She does have a point, her father is gasping for air. However she is making it seem as if I was watching a soapy on TV all this time. I was attending to the other patients. Who does she think she is? I now know this kind. It is the kind that has been to foreign countries and seen better service and then come back to Zimbabwe. They claim to know a lot and wave the threat of litigation in our faces. It is commendable that she knows her rights but she has forgotten her lefts! She left Europe but is yet to wake up to the fact that she is now at a government hospital in Zimbabwe and not the NHS!

I finally get to see her father. The man is in severe respiratory distress and restless. I attempt to enquire as to what the presenting complaints are but this woman instead of giving me the relative history, she continues on to prove a point. I get a hunch. I ask for the nurse if it is possible to do a rapid blood glucose test. She fiddles about in the drawer looking for the machine, then the other nurse reminds her there are no glucose strips to do the test. Out of blind hope she decides to just check and by a miracle of God there is one solitary, lonely remaining strip left! The nurse does the test and the glucose is too high for the machine to give a reading it just shows “HIGH.” Armed with a diagnosis I admit the father.

I manage to attend to the rest of the patients and slowly the queue tappers down until it clears. Some patients leave satisfied and some depart doubting. A lot leave with nothing, because they have to buy the drugs from a private pharmacy and organise a test I have ordered at a private laboratory in town. What I guess consoles them is the understanding that it is not this young man’s fault neither is it theirs. Whose fault it is, they don’t know but also neither do I.

 We are both victims of a crippled staggering system trying to help each other limp through this patch of the journey. Hope is what consoles. Hope is what encourages. Hope is what bandages the wound on the inside. Hope is the analgesia to the pain on the inside that my prescription can’t relieve. Hope that nothing lasts forever, hope that one day we will get our act together and make things right. The hope that has audacity to affirm that change will come in our lifetime, brought forth by our hands!

As I leave the casualty department I decide to pass by the ward to check on the very sick man I had admitted earlier with the complaining daughter. I get there and I find him peaceful no longer in respiratory distress. I wonder if it must be the insulin, the wonder drug. On closer inspection I find that he is not breathing, he no longer has a pulse, and his pupils are fixed and dilated. The ward nurse says to me “Chiremba, you are just in time to certify him”

As I finish my 12 hour shift, what I have to take home  with me are two things. The first is the question as I wonder did I kill this man or he died? Because there is a difference between the two. The other thing I have to take home is the 13 USD on call allowance that I have just earned. It's all in a day’s work!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Project Zimbabwe Summer in Harare and Bulawayo '2011

So as a very late first post for the year PZ 2011-12 I thought it would be nice to hear from last years PZ members that went to Harare and Bulawayo in Zimbabwe about what they were up to in Zimbabwe in the summer of 2011! Here goes:

What were the aims That Medyouth wanted to achieve in Summer 11'?

Medyouth were focusing on 4 major aims:

  • to form a committee of dedicated students to mirror the UK committee
  • Outreach: organise an outreach programme (medyouth life skills programme) both in Bulawayo (with doctors/dentists) and at UZ (with healthcare students) in collaboration with Childline/Say What
  • Resources: Provide support to the Bulawayo Hospital Library Project set up by the junior doctors sending texbooks to a library being set up in mpilo hospital; and help with clinical resources at UZ
  • Newsletter: Set up a quarterly newsletter with a collaborative effort from UK students, Bulawayo healthcare professionals and UZ healthcare students about interesting medical cases, news, etc
  • -Partnership: establish a long-term partnership between students in the UK and healthcare students/professionals in Zimbabwe

Were these aims executed?

“We managed to meet most of the aims however it’ an ongoing process that’s still being established. We have formed a committee involving 3rd and 4th year students.”

Gamu Mawoyo (President of the PZ comittee)

“Our main success was finding groups to get involved! We were able to encourage students and professionals both in Bulawayo and Harare to undertake tasks. Within both groups we elected persons to lead each of the projects; both students and professionals showed genuine interest in getting projects up and running, and were keen to get things moving as quickly as possible.”

Roxanne Annoh

Were there any hindrances?

“Our main hindrances were communication. We were a totally new group, none of the UK members from last year were present so it was a bit confusing meeting members in zim from last year, discovering who was who and what they’re role was in medyouth. But it was fun meeting new students and how they find medical school in Zimbabwe and comparing our experiences. Discovered that the system was very similar to ours but it was an injustice that they didn’t have the same access to educational resources as we have.”


“It was difficult at first to get good contacts and meet people. We also had to stress the importance of commitment and how it is essential for success and completion of projects.

Another hindrance was money; as we had a very limited budget, there was not much we could do in terms of bringing resources with us.”


How did you find zimbabwe- the country, the people, the food and the culture?

“I loved it all! I loved travelling in between Harare and bulawayo and our trip to Vic falls was nice.”


“It's an absolutely beautiful country that is unfortunately not seen in its "true" light by reports in the media. I would definately encourage people to go and visit the country; the people are lovely and there is a lot to see and do. The one thing I was disappointed about was the lack of variety of Zimbabwean dishes! Also, it is quite expensive due to inflation”


“Loved the people, they were friendly, upbeat, caring and so willing to show us around and invited us warmly into their culture. The city of Harare is small but busy all the time, the public transport was cheap and effective (at most times!) and the shops had everything we needed, even though the coffee was so expensive!”

Victoria Bakare (Fundraising Officer)

What was the highlight of the trip?

“The highlight of the trip was vic falls. However in terms of Medyouth work it was all fun, i loved how chillaxed everybody was, the whole rush factor was taken out of it and alongside work we could enjoy the sun”


“My favourite parts would be Victoria Falls and Mtare (Eastern region)- absolutely stunning!”


“The highlight of the trip was the roadtrip we took with some friends we made from the church we joined in Zimbabwe. We took a roadtrip from Harare to Mutare in the Eastern Highlands and it was amazing. We spent two nights in Osborne Dam and had a very interesting journey getting up there which consisted of jumping into the truck of a stranger because our car was too low to carry all of us and stopping in the pitch to help a burning house full of bags of maize!”


Would you go back again?


Sunday, 11 April 2010

A Conversation with Kate Adams ( a ZHTS Trustee)

What do you do professionally?

I am a GP in Hackney. I also work at the Royal London A and E and for the Out of Hours service in Tower Hamlets. I do some consultancy work for the BMJ. I am a Council member for the Royal College of GPs and sit on the BMA’s Ethics Committee.

What has been your involvement with NUST?

Through ZHTS I have supported NUST with its ongoing development of the medical curriculum and assessment. I have also been a visiting lecturer.

What were your main highlights during your time at NUST?

I really enjoyed the sessions teaching the students and hearing about their experiences. They are very hard working and committed people.

How did you involved with ZHTS?

For a number of years I was deputy Chair of the BMA’s International Committee and was very interested to explore ways in which the BMA could support Diaspora doctors who want to support health care systems back in their own countries. I had previously visited Zimbabwe and was very concerned about the deterioration of the health system.

What do you see in the future of ZHTS?

ZHTS will need to expand its membership and try and attract more health professionals from the Zimbawean diaspora for its continued success. The link with Kings IDU is exciting because of the track record that Kings has working with its Somali land link

How do you view the relationship between Project Zimbabwe and ZHTS?

I really value the link we have with Project Zimbabwe. I have been very impressed with the enery and enthusiasm of the Project Zimbabwe students. There are some really great projects particularly the teaching of sex education in Zimbawean schools and the medical student buddying system. I hope that those involved with Project Zimbabwe will consider joining ZHTS when they graduate.

What are your hobbies? I really enjoy the arts and culture scene in London. I also sing with the City of London Chamber Choir.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

A Conversation with Jen

This week, I had the opportunity to speak to Jennifer Clifford-Garner, the former President of Project Zimbabwe:
What made you decide to run for President of Project Zimbabwe?
--> I had been involved with PZ since its inception, working with the
founding president, Kirsten Scott, to build and expand the project. I had
invested a lot of time and energy in to the general running of PZ and also
played an active role in fundraising events. I guess I could see the big
potential PZ had and I wanted to put into place all my ideas and
aspirations. I had also not undertaken such a role before and relished the
challenge on a personal level.

What were your main goals during your Presidency?
--> My goals for PZ including refining the charity with a specific number
of well run umbrella projects with good branding, advertising and possible
sponsorship for each. I wanted to raise the profile of PZ within the
college to bring new talents to the group and develop new project ideas. I
also wanted to increase the amount of funding available to PZ so that all
our ideas could be realised.

What were the challenges you faced?
--> Challenges of running PZ included arranging successful fundraising
events and keeping on top of administrative tasks whilst in my final year of
medical school. Our hugely successful book project also involved an
enormous amount of time and manual labour. Gaining interest and support from
fellow students and interested parties, I am happy to say, was never a

What was the highlight of your Presidency?
--> After some long periods of hard work, I was thrilled to receive a
letter from the King's Fund, stating our funding application to be a
success. I also thoroughly enjoyed all of our African Music nights - seeing
the coming together of a range of people, all enjoying the entertainment,
knowing that 100% of the outcomes would be for the benefit of PZ projects. I
was also very proud to pass on the role of presidency to the new brilliant
presidents, safe in the knowledge that all the hard work gone before
wouldn't be in vane.

What are you up to now?
--> On top of working as a foundation trainee doctor at Whipps Cross
Hospital, I am also the part-time administrator for ZHTS, PZ's parent
charity. My role for ZHTS includes running the website, maintaining the
membership database, creating all graphics and many general administrative

Sunday, 28 March 2010

A conversation with Womba

Womba you played at the Project Zim Open Mic Night Last year, what have you been up to since then?

I have performed at various open mic nights all around london including the Cavendish Arms and The World's End. I recently secured a management contract with Iconic Artist Management who have been supportive in helping me further my music career.
Aside from that, I am one of the regional finalists for the competition called 'Live and Unsigned' for original artists around the country which is a great honour.

What was the highlight of performing at last year's open mic night?

The biggest highlight of performing last year was knowing that all the money was going to a great cause. It made everything so worth while. And I thought all the other performances were fantastic. I had a great time.

Where are you from originally?

I am originally from Zambia which is in the Southern part of Africa.

What would you say has been the main influence on your singing and songwriting style?

I would like to think that I have a unique style of singing and songwriting. I listen to all types of music. When I was younger I listened to a lot of Christian music that my father had. As I grew older I would say I started listening to a lot more Soul, RnB and Soft Rock. Artists I like include Norah Jones, Beyonce, Tracy Chapman, Eva Cassidy, Adele, Amy Winehouse. Quite a range of styles as you can see. I am also liking Lady Gaga at the moment.

What's on your Ipod at the moment?

This is embarassing to say but I don't own an ipod anymore. However, I have a huuuge collection of CDs, I am very old fashioned like that. I like to go out and buy CDs and listen to them on my radio at home. I have a range of musicians in my collection but really liking Gaga as mentioned earlier. I have also started listening to Eva Cassidy again and Tina Turner. Beyonce's I AM album is exceptional too.

What are the main challenges of being an upcoming singer/songwriter?

I would say my main challenge is getting people to listen to my songs. As an unknown artist it is a constant struggle to find people that will support your music without a record label behind you.
womba live and unsigned.jpg
Here's a clip of Womba:

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Conversatons with Fungai

This week, we're talking to Fungai from Fungai Neni:

What does Fungai Neni mean?
'Think with me' as well as 'Fungai and I' - in essence, I am asking that people be actively engaged in the content that I produce.

What do you do professionally?

I work in media and communications for the South African National AIDS Council.
What inspired you to start your blog?
It was long overdue - I had been talking about it for over a year and had just never found the time for it. So I just decided one afternoon to get it done and that's how it all began.
What's the aim of your blog?
To stimulate thought and discussion around contemporary issues, as seen through my eyes.
What advice would you give to other bloggers?
Keep it at - sometimes it goes good and sometimes it goes bad. But if it's your passion, please pesevere! Look for opportunities to grow always.
When you're writing do you think about your audience or do you prefer to just write?
I just write - whatever comes, comes. My blog is honest, although I sometimes think about what my audience might think about what I say...
Other than blogging do you have any other hobbies?
Of course! reading, music, travelling, writing other things like poetry and short stories, researching issues,etc.
How did you get involved with Medyouth?

Through my good friend, Rachel Adams, who invited me to one of their peer education courses in Bulawayo.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

An interview with Kirsten Scott

What made you decide to start Project Zimbabwe?

I had just been involved in starting ZHTS (Zimbabwe Health Training Support) and felt that it would be great to get students involved directly through a student-run project. I know that King's students had lots of energy and that the project could be a brilliant success.

What were the initial challenges to starting such a group?

At the beginning, although there was a lot of interest it was difficult to find a group of committed people to take things forward. I really wanted people to help shape the aims and the projects rather than just dictating things so it took a while before the project got going properly.
What was the highlight of your time as President?

While I was in Zimbabwe before the start of the first Medyouth program all of the NUST students got together and thanked me for everything I'd done. Having spent so many hours writing emails, speaking to people, raising money and organising tons and tons of books it was great to find out that it had all made a tiny difference. It was also really inspiring to see that PZ was taken over by people with so many ideas - the second highlight of my "presidency" was at the AGM when I stood down and I realised that the project wouldn't fall apart... that it would, in fact, go on to greater things.
What were the main challenges you were faced with during your presidency?

Communicating via email with Zimbabwe! I hope that this will also improve with time.

What are you up to now?

I am now working as a foundation year 1 doctor at King's College Hospital and am still a ZHTS trustee. I am trying to increase links between junior doctors in the UK and Zimbabwe at the moment and will be going on a King's visit in April 2009.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

District 9

During the holidays I watched district 9 and was myself and others slightly confused. Some thought it was about xenophobia? But it was actually based on the events that occurred in the 1970's at District 6 in South Africa . The film was overall very good but it had a significant weaknesses. Why were the 'Nigerians' in the film speaking Nyanja?

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Dambisa Moyo 'Dead Aid'

During the summer, I read the controversial, 'Dead Aid' by the Zambian economist, Dambisa Moyo and was incredibly excited and refreshed to hear about solutions for Africa from a female African economist.

With four degrees under her belt, and heavy weight work experience, she spent some time at the World Bank as well as Goldman Sachs, Dambisa Moyo makes an aggressive attack on the aid model. It is important to note that in her book Dambisa is talking specifically about bilateral aid and is not referring to humanitarian aid or charitable aid, though she does remind the reader that we should remain aware of what charity can do and what it cannot do.

She does indeed make some compelling arguments:
  • Why is that over a billion dollars worth of aid has gone to Africa in the last 60 years but the continent is now poorer.
  • Aid cripples the private sector, as well as the free market. Aid is a ' aid solution..' that is only useful in the short term. Africans should not rely on foreign governments for the provision of public goods.
  • There are other ways of raising money including trade with emerging economies like China and India as well as accessing the capital markets.

Whilst her book is a bit heavy, in that it tends to overload you with facts and some of her assertions are rather spurious, it's a good read. I would give it an overall 3/5 on the basis that some of her assertions are inaccurate. However, I am very impressed that she has ignited a conversation that is spoken of way to little and has highlighted how complicated the aid system is.

I am looking forward to her next book; 'How the West Was Lost' coming out this year.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Jeffrey Sachs, 'The End of Poverty'

Happy new year from the PZ team. We're starting of the New Year with a book review by Alix Fonfe:

Overall Rating: 3/5

As Sachs has spent many years working for the World Bank and the forward of his latest book was by Bono, I was very sceptical of this book. However, I found the first half of this book interesting. It described the history of global economics, why countries have developed at different rates and there were case studies of economic reforms in India, China, Poland and Hungary. Although the case studies were economically interesting and very readable, I felt the name dropping and Sachs ego got a little tiring after a while.

The concept I liked most in this book was how Sachs used a ‘clinical diagnosis’ of economic difficulties that countries faced which took into account geography, politics and health. This also highlighted the importance of individual countries developing their own policies for development, and not having a one size fits all policy forced upon them from the World Bank or IMF. I think this is a conclusion that most people who work within the World Bank soon realise, but often too late.

I was less impressed with the second half of the book which aimed to describe how to end poverty. The answer was to increase funding from developing countries, written in detail for too many pages. Although this may be beneficial, I expected more innovation and creativity by a World Renowned Economic Professor. After finishing the book, I felt he had wasted his time writing the second half. This perhaps demonstrates that there are no quick fixes to problems as complex as poverty but surely one of the most influential people in the world could have come up with a better idea than simply giving more money?

Overall Rating 4/5

I read this book after attending a book launch by the author. He made a lively and interesting presentation and I was looking forward to reading his book. I was not disappointed. The nature of this book is clearly in the title. It is an inspiring book, with examples of where active citizens and effective states have positive outcomes in laws, human rights, development and poverty. It was well researched by Duncan Green, who is a researcher for Oxfam, and had more tangible and practical ideas from Southern countries compared to Jeffery Sachs book. I really liked the examples of active citizens scattered in the book, and it surprised and pleased me how a group of people, who are uneducated, poor and often discriminated against, can get together and really change things. To me this really demonstrated empowerment. I recommend this book to students who are interested in development in the wider context of social and environmental injustices faced by people in poverty.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Tell us about yourself?
I am a final year medical student at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Zimbabwe. I was instrumental in the conception of Medyouth our medical school through my communication with Kirsten Scott who was a medical student then. With fellow colleagues from NUST and King's we then devised the Buddy Project in which students would pair up and communicate via email, share electronic resource and ideas. With continued expansion and growth of this project we started to gain recognition on campus and generated support of the university and community de to our community programmes.
What were your aims this year?

-To strengthen lifeskills programmes at schools which we visited the previous year
-To get more medical and non medical students involved
-To get a new committee for Medyouth NUST
-To come up with a strategic plan for the group
-To have combined training and sessions in schools.
What were the main highlights this year?

-It was most satisfying to see our hard work pay off when did successful training on Campus with resounding support from partner organisations like Community Working Group on Health (CWGH)
-The heart warming welcome from all the schools we visited and the eagerness of the student to learn and amazing feedback we got. As our report shows, most students gave comments like "please come back again" or "we need more time". We got the impression that we were giving a necceassary service to the coomunity.
- At a personal level i learnt to communicate with different people from virtually all works of life something medical school does not really teach. Given the diversity of the our organisations and school as well as colleagues, it was amazing how people with common purpose, ideals and aims use diversity as a strength.
- Perhaps one of the greatest higlights was being told by one student after trainig "Thanks for changing my life"
What are the challenges you're facing?

We need to increase membership: still low medical student uptake of the programme.We need to fundraise to overcome financial constraints.
We need to strengthen the Buddy project which is to at its best.
We need to formulate a new committe for Medyouth Zim

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Medyouth with Andrew

What are you studying???

Medicine, in my 3rd year at the moment and enjoying every second of it.

Why get involved with med youth?

Medyouth is a collaborative venture of medical students in the UK and Zimbabwe and is such a unique program i am privileged to be part of. We engage in a variety if activities which include sexual health education, exchange of ideas in medical school teaching and fund

Highlight of your Year

By far the highlight of the year would be the trip to meet our counterparts in Bulawayo. Its was such a great opportunity to fullfill our agenda and strengthen our relationship. I learnt a lot in the teaching sessions we had. The role plays were amazing and it was great to have other organisations involved. Cannot wait to go back and see the progress we are making and catch up with our peers!!!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Medsin Sans Frontiers Film on Aids and Women in Zimbabwe

Medsin Sans Frontiers is showing a film on the Zimbabwean 'Positive Ladies Club' . These Zimbabwean Women are using soccer to tackle the stigma associated with being HIV-positive

Do come and watch the film and meet some members of the team!
Place: Kings College London
New Hunts House
Guys Campus
Time: 1730
Date: 2/12/09

Monday, 23 November 2009

Medyouth with Rae

What is Medyouth Medyouth is a collaborative project designed and managed by students in the UK and Zimbabwe, which delivers “life skills” peer education training to students and community workers in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

  • Collaboration: “Medyouth” is run by sister committees at KCL (London) and NUST (Bulawayo). The committees have been working together since 2007.
  • Life skills + Peer education: Life skills are skills of negotiation, communication and self-awareness that help young people make informed decisions as they enter the world of adult responsibilities and relationships. Peer education methods create a safe and respectful environment where worries and problems can be balanced by information provision and facilitated discussion
  • Training: Medyouth training in 08 + 09 was delivered by Zimbabwean organisations Community Working Group on Health and Childline Zimbabwe. Trainees were from UK and Zimbabwe and the group consisted of medical, physiotherapy, journalism and other students, community workers and peer educators. Successful Medyouth trainees have taught in local secondary schools, covering topics such as puberty and body awareness, relationships and children’s rights. The project has trained over 50 trainees and taught over 1000 young people.

What is your role in Medyouth I’ve been Medyouth coordinator since 2008, which included coordinating the pilot project (2008), conducting a full evaluation and ensuring improvements were put into place in 2009. I’m now also co-president of Project Zimbabwe, but with special focus on Medyouth; I’m hoping to find a new Medyouth coordinator this year, and I’m looking forward to showing them the the ropes!

What made you decide to get involved? Since coming to uni I’ve been involved with the UK student group ‘Sexpression’, a brilliant organisation that teaches medical students to be effective peer educators in sexual health and relationships education (SRE). Sexpression KCL volunteers are well respected by teachers and schools in south London, and with them I’ve seen first-hand the effect when a myth or rumour about sexual relationships/puberty is dispelled in class- being able to safely discuss things that are a source of worry and confusion allows young people to feel confident in their decision-making.

As a member of Project Zimbabwe for 3 years, I got to know my buddy in Bulawayo, Linos, really well. We chatted about Sexpression and his work on HIV prevention in Zimbabwe, and felt we could learn from each other’s community work. Espcially we felt that medical students in both our institutions would benefit from the communication and negotiation skills learned during a peer educator training programme. Meanwhile, a few other ‘buddies’ from the PZ programme were sharing similar ideas, and as a group we decided to work together on a programme at Linos’ university - “Medyouth” was born!

Highlight of this yearBeing asked for advice by other student groups in Bulawayo who are setting up similar groups!! This was really encouraging, as it shows Medyouth’s strong foundations - our training programme is well known and respected, and the work taps into a real enthusiasm for community work and volunteering in the local university population. Also I’m really excited about the tentative plans to work more closely with Childline Zimbabwe- we’re hoping to learn a lot from their excellent counsellors.

Challenges over the year The biggest challenge over this year is to sustain ongoing communication with our organising committee in Bulawayo, their university, our partner organisations, schools and trainees (and the list is happily growing!). We know how much enthusiasm there is for the project, but with bad internet connections and hectic schedules of the (mostly medical student) committee, things can be a bit tough. Regular communication and sharing of ideas is vital for the collaborative nature of our project, so are working to overcome the barriers (for example by circulating hard copies of the blog as a quarterly newsletter!).

Saturday, 10 October 2009

African Rhythms Night!

We're having our first social event next week! Please come along, bring your friends (and their friends), enjoy some African music, taster drumming lessons and get to socialise with the PZ team !

When is it happening? Thursday 15 October 1930
Where is it happening? The Roebuck- Great Dover Street, SE1 4YG
How much does it cost? £6/£5 NUS

Here's a clip of what we'll be showing:

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Project Zim this year!

We have big plans for Project Zim this year.

As many of you may already know, Project Zimbabwe is a collaborative project with students from NUST University in Bulawayo Zimbabwe. Whilst Project Zimbabwe's primary goal is to support healthcare students in Zimbabwe it is not only for medical students, I myself am not even a medical student and doubt I will ever be one, hospitals actually make me very uncomfortable and I can hardly stomach an episode of Grey's Anatomy.

We're keen to get students from a wide range of backgrounds involved. This is because health-care is a topic that affects all of us. Whether you're dreaming of being the next Barack Obama and championing your own health-care reform, are a budding entrepreneur (healthy workforce= high output), are hoping to be the next Ally Mcbeal (a good legal system is closely related to an efficient health care system), dreaming of being the next big thing on the X-factor (we don't take ourselves to seriously and have cultural evenings that showcase Zimbabwean and African music, poetry and flims), you're welcome to get involved.

One of the projects we've been running in previous years is the Buddy project which involved Kings students and NUST students sending e-mails and sharing their experiences. This method of communication has proven to be difficult for both the Kings and NUST students involved.

So this year we've decided that we're going to use the Blog as our main vehicle of communication. We're going to be posting interviews of both Kings and NUST students both medical and non-medical, we'll be finding out their passions, what drives them, as well as talking about more light hearted topics like they're favourite music and so forth.

We also want to hear from you, this blog is going to be a forum for Zimbabwean and non-Zimbabwean students to share ideas or explore how their passions are relate to healthcare. So please do get in touch with us if you'd want to post something on the blog, or find out more about what we do.

I must just state from the outset that this is a strictly no-politics zone.

Until next time, have a great week.


Sunday, 30 August 2009

And the Medyouth Project is up and running!

Even though the Medyouth Project this year got to a slow start (most members are also revising for the final year exams), I am glad to say that the project is now up and running and has both medical and non-medical students involved.

For those of you who don't know what this project i'm talking about actually is. Let me explain:
Medyouth is a a group of students from both the UK and Zim who go into schools in Bulawayo and teach a sexual education programme. The focus of the project this year is on peer education and counselling methods, focusing on puberty issues, entering into and negotiating the adult world.

PS thank-you all so much for you donations!I'm sure this will make Rae's bungee jump much easier. If any of you would prefer to write a cheque you can make it payable to Project Zimbabwe and post it to Project Zimbabwe,Kings College London, Guy's Campus, 19 Newcomen Street, London SE1 1 UL

Friday, 21 August 2009

Rachel's Jumping into the Victoria Falls (for Project Zim of course)

As many of you may know Rachel Adams (co-president of Project Zim) is currently in Zimbabwe coordinating the Medyouth, sexual health education project. In an attempt to raise funds for Project Zimbabwe, she has bravely decided that she is going to jump into the Victoria falls, well she's not literally jumping but is bungee jumping into the Victoria Falls (which i'm assuming is less scary).

Any donation would be greatly appreciated, but a suggested donation of £5 would go a very long way. Donations can be made using our pay pal link.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Project Zimbabwe's New Committee!!

Co-President - Ropa Sibusiso Chidawu
Co-President - Rachel Adams
Secretary - Alex Fonfe
Treasurer - Rowan Ambrose
Publicity Officer - Reshma Shah
Fundraising Officer - TBC
Buddy Project Coordinator - Roma Dewan
Electrinic Resources Coordinator - Samirah Toure
MedYouth Coordinator - TBC
General Officers - Sonia Abid, Ali Al Jumaily, Lisa Wallberg

Project Zimbabwe Alumni

Two of Project Zimbabwe's former presidents will be graduating from medical school this summer. Kirstent Scott will be working at King's College Hospital London where she will continue her invaluable work with the KZZ link and Jennifer Gifford-Garner will be at Whipps Cross Hospital. Jennifer hopes to take an active role in the teaching materials project and will continue to support ZHTS as a qualified trustee.

Project Zimbabwe Alumni

Kirsten Scott - President 2007/8
Jennifer Gifford-Garner - President 2008/9

Monday, 13 April 2009

Thursday, 2 April 2009

A new way to donate to PZ!!

Every time you shop online you could be donating to Project Zimbabwe! Click on our icon on the right to take you to the easyfundraising web site and start shopping. Practically every shop you can think of is available, from Amazon and Tesco to M&S and Argos.
Please take a look and remember us every time you order online!!

Zimbabwean Student Coming to London!!

Linos Sibanda, a medical student from Bulawayo, will be coming to London for a 10 week elective placement this summer! He will be spending 6 weeks at King's College Hospital and 4 weeks at Northwick Park Hospital.
We wish to thank the Canon Collins Trust for their generous support and invite contact with any other interested parties who would be willing to support future students.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Raising Awareness of our Buddy Project

King's College Alumni Promotion

The Alumni of King's College will soon have access to information about Project Zimbabwe and the ability to make dontations. A link to the PZ blog will be posted on the Alumni web site in the near future.

Friday, 27 March 2009

MedYouth Money!

For those KCL students who have shown an interest in travelling to Zimbabwe this summer with Rachel & MedYouth, the travel awards deadline is the 3rd April!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

PZ Books Donated to Read International

We have found a brilliant new home for all the surplus books that we are unable to send to Zimbabwe; Read International! Over 30 boxes of our books were moved to the Read International storage unit last weekend and will be sorted and eventually sent to Tanzania this summer.

King's ISN

Project Zimbabwe is happy to be part of the King's International Student Network!

ZHTS AGM 2009 Agenda

Sunday, 15 March 2009


Annual General Meeting

Project Zimbabwe AGM Details
30th April 2009
New Hunts House Classroom G.4
Guy's Campus
Committee Positions Available
Fundraising Officer
Publicity Officer
Medyouth coordinator
Buddy Project coordinator
Resources Project coordinator
3x General Officers

Friday, 6 March 2009

Books Project Update

The books project is reducing in capacity. Unfortunately, we have had to reduce the number of boxes we are able to send via our generous shipping contact. We are therefore putting the books project on hold whilst we make arrangements for the surplus. We will be focussing our attentions on electronic resources that can easily be copied and distibuted to as many medical students in Zimbabwe as possible.
We want to thank each and every person who has donated a book to Project Zimbabwe and we hope you will to support us!

Friday, 20 February 2009

Movie Night!!

Project Zimbabwe will be hosting a Movie Night showing the feature length Zimbabwean movie "Neria" by Tsitsi Dangarembga.

Where; Function Room, The Miller of Mansfield, 96 Snowsfield Road SE1 3SS
When; 17th March 2009, 6.30pm for 7.30 film start

Hope to see you there!

Movie Night!!

Friday, 6 February 2009

Project Zimbabwe Discusssion Forum Launched!

A discussion forum is now available (link on the right) for medical students and healthcare professionals in the UK and Zimbabwe. We hope it will generate some great discussions and ideas and help strengthen the new KZZ link (more info to follow). Please take a look, sign up for an account and get talking to your colleagues!

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Unite ZimNite Update

Thank you to everyone who attended our fundraiser this Saturday. It was a great success and really good fun. A big thank you to all the acts who performed on the night - everyone showed how talented they were and the audience loved them all.
We managed to raise £573.80 after expenses which is a massive total and a huge help towards funding our MedYouth Programme 2009.
Many Thanks again!

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Marathon For TB Alert

TB Alert conquers France in aid of Zimbabwe
Kirsten Scott

On the 22nd of November 2008, three of us braved the Beaujolais marathon in aid of the TB Alert project at Murambinda Hospital in Zimbabwe. Having been born and bred there, I have a strong interest in continuing to be involved in the health care system and have managed to visit Murambinda twice over the last three years. Our core team was comprised of an ophthalmologist (John) a vet (Hannah) and a medical student (myself) but we could not have managed without our four person support team (consisting of parents and significant others) who drove us around uncomplainingly and ensured that we had adequate amounts of food on board at all times.

Murambinda hospital is a rural mission hospital in Zimbabwe that serves a population of approximately 300,000. Despite the current crisis, it has continued to deliver effective care to the local population, so much so that people from towns over 100km away are willing to walk there to receive treatment. Since TB Alert became involved, the TB program has gathered strength with accurate data collection and decentralisation of services forming a focus for both local and visiting staff.

The marathon was part of an entire weekend of festivities to welcome the latest batch of Beaujolais nouveau into the world. The event started off well with sunshine, fancy dress and a good pre-marathon spread of coffee, wine, fruit juice and cake provided by volunteers from Fleurie. The self styled “Team Tuberculosis” ran in shirts with ‘Hôpital de Murambinda’ on the back which meant that there were regular shouts of “c’est un hôpital! alors! c’est un hôpital qui court le marathon aujourd’hui” [it is a hospital! a hospital running the marathon!]. John’s TB Alert shirt came with extra wings and he managed to complete the marathon in less than three hours. Hannah and I battled breathlessness and fatigue (not to mention snow and steep hills!) to heroically enlighten passing French men and women on the vagaries of TB in Africa (thereby finishing considerably later). Our increasing local fame culminated in an interview on French TV at the post marathon lunch the next day and we have now been offered free places in next year’s marathon. TB Alert may live to conquer the French yet again!

With the support of incredibly generous friends and family we managed to raise £4,765.80 for the district TB program in Murambinda. Further donations may be given at

Monday, 12 January 2009

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

ZHTS Away Day!

ZHTS coupled with the International Development Unit are hosting and "Away Day" to discuss;
  • Work involving the link between King's, ZHTS and Zimbabwe
  • Discuss achievements and activities
  • Future directions of the link


Saturday 24th January

9.30 - 4pm

Conference Centre

Western Education Centre

King's College Hospital, Denmark Hill

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas
Happy New Year
from all at
Project Zimbabwe!

Friday, 12 December 2008

Zim Gear Sponsors Unite ZimNite!!
A generous donation of t-shirts to buy and a unique hoodie specially
designed as a raffle prize.
Thank you!!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Our Next Fundraiser!

January 24th 2009
Function Room
Walkabout, Temple

MSF Zimbabwe Emergency Appeal

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Next Meeting

Tuesday 13th January 2009
The Spit Boardroom
Boland House
Guy's Campus
Agenda to follow!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

PZ Publication!

Student BMJ News:
London Medical Students have been forging links with their counterparts in Zimbabwe to share experiences of life and learning.
The first year of Project Zimbabwe, a collaboration between King's College, London medical school at Guy's, King's & St Thomas' Hospitals and the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo, has involved 20 students in each country pairing up in an email 'buddy' system.
The students discuss the ways they are taught, and the scheme has given rise to another collaborative project called Medyouth.
This is partyle modelled on the sucessful UK sex education project Sexpression and will lead to medical students from both countries visiting schools and colleges in Bulawayo to facilitate sexual and reproductive health classes.
Project Zimbabwe founder member Kirsten Scott said "The project aims to help children prepare for adult life though fun an interactive learning. It will also provide educational development and experience of public health to medical students".
The project, which also aims to raise awareness of Zimbabwean health provision challenges amoung medical students in the UK, has collaborated with the airline Virgin to send more than 500 books to Universities in Harare and Bulawayo and some district general hospitals.
Ms Scott siad that in the longer term the plan was to work with medical school staff to help electronic resources in Zimbabwe.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Next Meeting

The next committee meeting will be:
28th November
The Spit Boardroom
Boland House
Guy's Campus
King's College London

Monday, 3 November 2008

Next Meeting

There will be a lunch time meeting on the 9th November to discuss the MedYouth Zimbabwe trip in detail. Review of this year's trip and also plans for 2009 will be covered. The time and venue are to be arranged. If you would like to come along , please email and we will pass on the details.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Raffle Prizes Donated

A £30 voucher for a meal at The Gold Coast Bar and two Platinum Membership Cards for the Circle Club London have been donated as raffle prizes for our social this Sunday.

Rachel, on the PZ committee is also donating two 100billion Zim Dollar notes as prizes too!

  • Medsin-GKT, King's College London, Guy's Campus, 19 Newcomen St, London, SE1 1UL