Kalomo/Choma Day 4

[postedl from my iPhone]
Today the team split with Claire and Tracy embedding themselves in Siachitema with their guardian, Albert. Because of the superb groundwork we did yesterday, the women were given a room on the back of the Rural Health Centre and Albert is using the tent we brought with us. I then went to Kalomo to brief the Standard Sales Branch Manager there – Douglas – on the progress of the test run and leave new stock control sheets with him.
It’s a shame that after all the support Douglas has given us over the last couple of months, the test run has ended up going through the Standard Sales Branch in Choma. But Douglas is very understanding.
While I was dropping the crew off in Siachitema I had a chat with Mrs Banda who is the Acting Officer in Charge of the Health Centre. She’d had about 20 people through the health centre this morning and said that most were women with children with diarrhoea. The second most common illness was respiratory problems. I’m really surprised at the level of diarrhoea being reported given that we are well into the dry season and the peak is reported to be from November to March. Even in the baseline survey currently underway around 50% of mothers are reporting diarrhoea in their children in last 2 weeks.
After my visit with Douglas I drove back to Choma and invested some time looking for camp sites. I’m going to be coming and going quite a lot over the next 12 months so it’s worth it. I’ve found the perfect place – Gwembe Safari Lodge – but unfortunately had already committed to a not so perfect place for tonight.
So here I am installed in the roof tent writing this. Isn’t technology wonderful.
Tomorrow afternoon I will be joined by Hans Hesse of Zoona (aka Mobile Transactions Limited) and on Monday morning we will travel out to Siachitema to re-unite with the team members there and test the very last bit of the distribution chain from retailer to mothers in remote rural community. This could be quite an emotional moment! This last step will include the testing of the voucher redemption process, the kit authentication process and the 50% off offer.