Zimbabwe Life Project – Sept 2019 Trip

The Zimbabwe Life Project (ZLP) team recently completed their second visit to Zimbabwe making their return to the UK on October 5th. This year I had the opportunity to accompany them and to see how they support the mental health services in Zimbabwe and I must say, it was incredible to see the dedication and commitment in each of the team members. Some of the volunteers left behind their children, spouses and they all funded themselves while taking annual leave to go and deliver mental health workshops and distribute vital donations to Parirenyatwa and Ingutsheni Hospitals. Some of the volunteers went to Bulawayo and others stayed in Harare but both teams delivered mental health training workshops on quality improvement such as restrictive practice, quality academy, suicide prevention, substance misuse, etc. It was really good to see how the mental health staff in Zimbabwe warmly received the ZLP team and how keen they were to participate in the programme.

The Friendship Bench team participated and presented different approaches to mental health and interventions that are helping to improve quality of life through therapy delivered by lay health workers. Medical staff from the University of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health & Child Care also attended and presented on how they are doing their best to improve the quality of care with limited resources. Workshops in Harare were held at Parirenyatwa School of Nursing which were attended by staff from Parirenyatwa Annex, Harare Psychiatry Hospital and other mental health teams including Tirivanhu Rehabilitation Center that provides aftercare to mental health patients in the community. In Bulawayo the workshops were held at Ingustheni Hospital.

The overall feedback from both ZLP and mental health staff in Zimbabwe is that the training workshops inspired them to continuously develop their practice and knowledge. Both sides are looking forward to future sessions and visits.

ZLP’s contribution to supporting mental health services was acknowledged by the Ministry of Health & Child Care and also by the Foreign Ministry & International Trade.  Parirenyatwa School of Nursing appreciated ZLP for the cross pollination of knowledge and skills in their graduation speech. A ZLP trophy was given to the best student nurse in community psychiatry.




Update on Zimbabwe Life Project (2019)

Zimbabwe Life Project (ZLP) will be embarking on their second trip to Zimbabwe in September 2019. This group of mental health professionals will be participating in a training program in Harare and Bulawayo. For more information on their next trip, visit the ZLP website https://zlp.org.uk/.

All volunteers going on this trip are funding themselves and have taken annual leave for the duration of the trip, just as they did last year.

This time around, the mental health professionals aim to support the identified national objectives as much as they can by sharing knowledge and experiences with their Zimbabwean counterparts.

Speaking to the ZLP lead, Lucia Vambe, this project intends to make a difference to mental health services in Zimbabwe. She also added that they aspire to help establish therapeutic programs that work for mental health patients in Zimbabwe and help improve patient care.

During their initial visit in September 2018, ZLP held training workshops in which they shared knowledge on topics such as management, leadership, customer care and reflective practice. The training workshops were delivered in partnership with the Zimbabwean team. The ZLP team received positive and encouraging feedback from the attendees and also from the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health.

ZLP workshop

ZLP Training Workshop in Harare – September 2018
During their visit the ZLP team attended meetings with a range of stakeholders in the delivery of mental health care including:

· The Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care
· Hospital managers in Harare, Ruwa and Bulawayo
· Shared best practice with therapists at the University of Zimbabwe.
· The British Embassy in Harare
· Non–governmental health organisations in Zimbabwe
· The Zimbabwe Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora
· The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority team who are working on re-branding the country’s tourism.

Nurses Graduation Ceremony:

The team participated in a Nursing Graduation Ceremony where a trophy, named after Lucia Vambe, founder of ZLP was awarded to the best community mental health student.


Four hospitals, a rehabilitation centre and a prison health unit received medical equipment donated by the UK team which included defibrillators, suction machines, dinamaps – blood pressure machines, blood glucose monitoring machines, surgical sundries i.e. bandages, syringes and needles for injections, electrocardiography – (ECG) machine, zimmer frames and walking sticks for physio, bed and bath aids, commodes, emergency resuscitation equipment and bags, ventilator tubes, various clinical items for hospital theatres, medical books for school of nursing, sanitary pads, clothes, shoes, microwave, footballs for psychiatric patients, etc.

ZLP is grateful to everyone who donated items which the health services in Zimbabwe received with gratitude.

For further information and updates on ZLP activities please view their Facebook page @zimbabwelifeproject, Twitter page @LifeZimbabwe and webpage www.zlp.org.uk.

Zimbabwe Life Project

Zimbabwe is currently emerging from a period of instability in economic growth and stressful social conditions which is a bedrock of mental health problems. There is a need to review the mental healthcare systems to improve the quality of patient care and experience.

To support the development of new systems and the provision of new knowledge, ‘Practice Development Nurse’ Lucia Vambe has mobilised a team of 20 clinicians to go to Zimbabwe with her this September to offer their skills through information sharing.

The clinicians from the NHS will travel as volunteers and already have the support of the Essex Partnership University Trust and some of Zimbabwe’s top Healthcare leaders. Together, they have agreed a work plan that will be taken forward to improve mental health provision systems and patient care in Zimbabwe.

When the Life Project team return from Zimbabwe, they will follow up their work by providing a report of their findings, the work carried out and recommendations. Their aim is to produce an overall outcome of well-trained staff and well-resourced mental health services in Zimbabwe.

Lucia and her team are looking for YOUR support to send donations and equipment to Zimbabwe this September. Click the following link to contribute towards a good cause: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lucia-vambe



2017 – A Year in Review

2017 ~ A Year in Review

As we draw closer to the end of another year, it is time for me to look back at the highs and (not so many) lows of 2017.

In 2017 I had some amazing opportunities to do things I had never done before like going to my first ever football match and flying abroad without Mum & Dad for the first time, but I’d like to start my review by just thanking God for my recovery this year.

As you all must know by now, December 2016 was not a good time for me or my family My Life Defining Moment but time really is the best healer and thankfully, we’ve been able to celebrate Christmas this year the right way, at home not in hospital.

Now without further ado, lets get into how great this year was and there’s only one place to start..

January 💪
After spending the first 5 days of 2017 in Queens hospital, much to the surprise of the nurses and doctors involved, I was already ready to be discharged from the hospital at which point, the world became my Oyster.

February 💕
February was about getting back to university which I had been so determined to make sure of. A very proud moment for me was when I returned to Sheffield Hallam University for the first time after you know what.
After returning things didn’t quite work out how I planned which I probably should’ve expected having missed so much coursework during my time out of university. I ended up coming back home later in March but I wasn’t worried, I was more encouraged by the fact that I was physically able to return to university than I was discouraged because I had to go back home.

March 😴
To be honest, not much really happened in March except having a million physiotherapy appointments and going back to Essex returning to my family and friends.

April 💼
VHS baby 😂 if you have me on Snapchat (bkvambe) you may already know about how the Vambes have taken over the NHS! Not literally of course but I can tell you that God has now blessed the four of us with jobs in the NHS which I didn’t even think was possible, but it is and I’m actually loving it. So April was the beginning of this journey.

May 🎂
The greatest month of the year in general, shoutout to all the May babies out there! This year I turned 21 and God forbid, imagine if I had missed this one. In celebration of life, my family organised a big party for my 21st birthday 🎉 and let me be the first to tell you that IT WAS LIT!!! So many friends and relatives came to the party, I showcased my wardrobe of dance moves and I think everyone had a wonderful time. More Life flex, ya dun’kno!
I also went to my first football match with my brother, Matthew after I had won some EFL tickets at a bingo night whilst at uni in February, so I guess something good did come out of temporarily going back to university. We watched Aston Villa hold eventual Championship league runners-up Brighton to a 1-1 draw at Villa Park, Birmingham which was such a thrilling experience.

June / July ☀️
Ah Summer, sunny days means happy days are here again and indeed they were. Summer involved a lot of trips to cousins’ houses for cosy evening BBQ’s, and I mean who doesn’t love those? I bought myself a BMW 3 series, may have reached out of my depth a little bit with that one but hey, still got it. I also went and stayed in Alton Towers with my brother and some family friend’s which was so much fun and ventured on other trips including a fancy night out to Shakazulu in central London, a huge and exotic South African restaurant joined with its own club in central London.

August 🕶
So the highlight of August was going away to Lanzarote with my brother, cousins and more friends leaving behind my parents for the first time. The cost, the wait, everything was so worth it and I definitely had the most fun I’ve ever had going on holiday. We went to an open air cinema, rode on camels, climbed volcanoes, visited the zoo we just really made the most of every minute we spent there and everyone had a great time. I would certainly recommend Lanzarote as a holiday destination for those thinking ahead to summer 2018.

September 🎓
September saw everyone including myself, go back to their different levels of education. I finally went back to Sheffield for my second attempt at second year in Sheffield Hallam University and this time, I knew I was ready. I settled back into my aunt & uncles house in Handsworth very quickly and I think it’s fair to say that this academic year, I’ve hit the ground running. I already have a 1st and a 2:1 in the first couple of assignments that I’ve completed and things are looking really good as we enter semester 2 of the course.

October 🌬
The best moment of October was creating and posting my first ever post on my blog. Now there aren’t many days where you just wake up and decide to start writing for fun but on the morning of the day that I created my journalism diary, that’s exactly what happened. Seize the day has been my motto since my car accident and it just dawned on me that I could be using my free time to do something a little bit different for myself and for you, my lovely audience. With all the coursework I’ve been doing, I haven’t been able to post as much as I would’ve liked to but I’m back now and in 2018, I hope to give you a lot more content on this blog site.

November ❄
Along with March, November was another pretty quiet month for me hence the lack of blog posts that month. Like every other student, I was up to my neck in coursework and spending time in the library became a regularity as it should anyway. I attended an Islamophobia Awareness rally and went to South Yorkshire Police headquarters to collect interviews as part of my coursework which I found to be very productive.

December 🎄
Despite the freezing temperatures of December, I am a big fan of winter just purely because it’s a time for everyone to be indoors wrapped up in front of the fire in your PJ’s as you do, protected from the cold. Then there’s knowing the festive period is upon us and seeing all the beautiful decorations and events being held to mark the season. We’ve just celebrated a beautiful christmas here at home in Essex with our close relatives and I trust you all had a wonderful christmas too.

Personally, 2017 has probably been the best year of my life and my only significant plan for going into the new year is to spend it in church but however you decide to welcome the new year, I hope that each and everyone of you enjoys a prosperous 2018 that is twice as good as 2017 was.

Here’s to greatness and success in 2018! 🥂