Here’s a list of essentials to bring if you’re planning to spend time at the hospital. It’s not intended to be
comprehensive, but should guide you in the right direction.
- June-August – warm layers (gets cold especially at night)
- December-April – footwear suitable for very wet weather (many of the paths around the hospital turn into streams and
lakes during the daily downpours)
- Mosquito net
- Sun-block (you can buy it in Chipata, but it’s expensive)
- a hat
- sturdy comfortable shoes (you’ll be doing a lot more walking than your used to!)
- Adaptors for any electrical items (the hospital has UK style 3 pin sockets and the voltage is officially 240V but often
fluctuates a lot – power cuts are also common)
- Any toiletries that you cannot survive without – many items are difficult to get hold of, even in Chipata (women please
note that tampons can only be obtained in Chipata or Lusaka and are expensive)
- Lonely Planet Guide to Zambia or similar guide
- Insect repellant (also easily obtainable from Chipata)
- Blu-tac - to make your accommodation more homely, eg by hanging chitenges
- Entertainment – books, radio (with Short Wave to receive international radio stations including the BBC World Service), MP3 player, frisbee, table tennis bat and balls or
- Laptop computer – if you are coming for a reasonable period of time seriously consider bringing a laptop – we used ours for e-mail, watching DVDs and for lots of hospital
work (presentations, audits, guidelines, redesigning forms etc). If you do bring one, also bring a surge protector as Zambian electricity is very variable.
- If you are a keen cook, a supply of spices and maybe some recipes too.
- Towels and bed-linen are supplied by the hospital, but tend to be significantly past their best - so consider bringing your own, or buying them en-route in Lusaka.
- first aid - the hospital can supply most things that you might need, but for trips away consider a kit with rehydration salts (eg “Dioralyte” )and Loperamide for
gastroenteritis, plasters/bandages, and maybe a thermometer (whenever you have a fever, it’s Malaria until proven otherwise!), needles and i.v. cannulae (in case you’re unwell on your travels away
- security belt (for carrying valuables in the towns, or when “scrubbed up” in the theatre)
- padlock (for securing your valuables in your accomodation)
- water filter drinking bottle, eg. Aquapure “Pure Hydratrion” bottles (recommended by
the London School of Tropical Medicine)
- mobile phone: get yours “unlocked” before you travel - which then enables you to use Zambian telecoms providers; SIM cards are easily purchased at the Chada (the small
shops next to SFH). Reception at the SFH is “not great” but works well enough, and much better for communicating with home than relying on the hospital’s landline.