In 2016, ILCO Zimbabwe received a container from ILCO Sweden carrying many ostomy appliances, with the intentions of it to be used as office space. This decision was done out of the realization of high cost in office rentals in Zimbabwe.
The container was placed at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and renovated to suit as an office. However, with the large stock of ostomy appliances it took much of the office space, therefore it was difficult to assist patients needing to change their bag or for practical teaching on ostomy care. Despite this major challenge, the significant impact was the availability of ostomy appliances stock enough to take ILCO ZIM for the next three years that followed.
Due to the challenges faced of office space most of the patients were attended to outside. This made patients uncomfortable and resent to learn how to be shown how to use the bags or learn how to clean their stomas. November 2018 ILCO Sweden answered our prayers once more again and sent through another container, which also had more ostomy appliances and other various items. The plan was to have a separate office and storeroom for ostomy appliances a floor was to be put in between the container and a roof above it. The 2016 container was painted a similar color with the 2018 container and a floor and roof were put installed. As we worked, patients came through to collect their monthly appliances and were pleased with the work and setting appointments for assistance in stoma cleaning, peri-stomal skin wounds and stoma checkups.
The other plan was as soon as the 2018 container arrived a week later the Swedish team should arrive and assist with the layout of the container. Unfortunately, the container was delayed and arrived 2weeks late due to reasons beyond our control. Both the Zimbabwe team and Swedish team were greatly disappointed but on the end, everything turned out as planned.
ILCO Zimbabwe now has more stock of ostomy appliances, a beautiful office and can now easily attend to patients in private. Thanks to Marie Steen and ILCO Sweden. ILCO Sweden has made life much easier to the ostomates in Zimbabwe. We are grateful for the assistance, the donations and the partnership.
We hope that Linda and I will be able to train more people on ostomy care on a larger scale and be able to assist the patients even more with more knowledge, here in Zimbabwe.
The pictures highlight the process and progress of developing our new offices from the donated containers. The renovations went through a number of days. One container is being utilized as office space whilst the other as storage space for all ostomy appliances.
Training in Zimbabwe
Thanks to the support from ILCO Sweden and other well-wishers, ILCO Zimbabwe representatives Linda and l we traveled to Denmark to attend an Ostomy Conference. It was such a wonderful experience we learnt more on ostomy appliances available and challenges that ostomates face. We discovered that some of the challenges were similar such as toilet facilities, lack of knowledge from the public about ostomy condition. We did however, noted that despite these similarities in challenges, people in most African countries suffer a lot more, due to lack of ostomy appliances, lack of knowledge and the constant traditional attachment of concepts around witchcraft. This forces most patients into isolation.
During the conference was fruitful. While socializing, we met Dr.Carlos, who through the Lions Club, will be traveling with his team and to provide trainings on ostomy care from December 3rd to 8th. ILCO Zimbabwe together with the Ministry of Health Zimbabwe and Lions Club Zimbabwe will host this mega training for doctors, nurses and ostomates in Zimbabwe. This will be a huge benefit for Zimbabwe.
We are grateful for all the support towards our work!
Lizzie and Linda Moyo
ILCO Zimbabwe Trust