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Saint Francis’ Hospital in Zambia

As most of our friends and readers know, Jakob & Jakob are planning to run the desert ultra Marathon des Sables in April. As with earlier running projects, we have decided to raise money for a children’s charity. We challenge YOU, our families, colleagues, pals, associates, acquaintances, extended families, co-workers and everybody who has ever said hello to us on the street, to help us beat the record we set while raising money for UNICEF back in November, while trying to run the New York City Marathon!

Blue ring = Morocco. Red ring = Zambia. Red arrow = Katete district.

Blue ring = Morocco. Red ring = Zambia. Red arrow = Katete district.

This time, we will be raising money for the newly built children’s ward at Saint Francis’ Hospital, in the Katete district of Zambia. For those of you who don’t know where Zambia is, let us refresh your geography a little bit. Zambia is a landlocked nation in southeastern Africa, bordered among others by the DR of the Congo, Zimbabwe and Namibia. It is roughly the size of Sweden and Norway combined, has around 14 million inhabitants and according to the World Bank, it had one of the fastest growing reformed economies in the world in 2010. Morocco is situated on the diametrically opposite side of the continent, to the northwest, and couldn’t be more different. Zambia has a humid, subtropical climate and the geography consists mostly of high plateaus with mountains and river valleys. It’s population is mostly Christian, comprising 97%. Morocco, on the other hand, borders both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean and has a maritime, mediterranean climate along the coast. The country’s backbone is comprised of the mighty Atlas Mountains running northeast to southwest, dividing the fertile northern parts of this kingdom from the dry and extremely hot desert region of the Sahara. Here, the biggest religion is islam, counting more than 99% of the population.

A berber taking his camel for a stroll in the Sahara.

A berber taking his camel for a stroll in the Sahara.

Saint Francis’ Hospital (SFH for short) is located in the district of Katete and is mostly funded by the Catholic and Anglican churches, as well as by the Zambian Health Department. A substantial amount of the funds needed to run the hospital, however, come from donations by private people. The hospital has a brand new children’s ward that was officialy opened by the Zambian Minister of Health in November 2012, but had in fact been in operation since before the summer. During last year, around 5 400 children were admitted, the most common diagnoses being malaria, diarrhoea, airway infections, fever of unknown origin, meningitis and malnutrition. Beside the children’s ward, the hospital also has a children outpatient department and an under-5 clinic, tending to the needs of children who are not in need of hospital care. Some 600 children receive anti-retroviral drugs to combat HIV-infection each year. The children’s ward has nine bays with six adult beds each and an additional two bays with about eight cots each. The money raised with your help will go to the children’s ward specifically, and among other things help to buy equipment and medicines that are sorely lacking. Not only bandages, antibiotics and pulseoxymetres but also simple things such as rubber gloves and bed linens.

Stichting SFH Medical Support Group

Stichting SFH Medical Support Group

In this endeavour, Jakob & Jakob have chosen to cooperate with the Dutch charitable organisation Stichting Saint Francis’ Hospital Medical Support Group (or MSG, for short) that has agreed to let us use their website for our donation needs. The current secretary of MSG, Mrs Arlet Splint-Keilman, has been kind enough to supply us with a wealth of information about the hospital and the children’s ward, including both photos and stories from their friends who have chosen to take part of their medical electives in Zambia. Those stories will find their way right here to our blog and illustrate what it is like to live and work at an African hospital.

If you would like to donate, simply click on this link or return to our main page and click on the green banner in the right column, named “DONATE”. And if you want to see our progress with our campaign, please visit our donation site right here.


Both we and the children’s ward of SFH would like to thank you for your generosity! Remember that Jakob & Jakob will be running for a week through sweat, blood and tears in the Sahara for you. All we ask in return is that you take a minute of your time and make a donation to our charity. It will make a difference.

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