The three main aims of Zambia Nurses Christian Fellowship (ZNCF) are to bring Jesus Christ to nurses (evangelism), to promote excellence in nursing, and to facilitate care of caregivers. These three aims are inextricably linked. For nurses and midwives to provide care that can be classified as excellent, they themselves must feel cared for. One can only give what one has.
If nurses and midwives do not feel valued and cared for themselves, they are unlikely to provide quality care to their patients. This concept is drawn from the apostle Peter's words when he and fellow apostle John met a lame man who asked them for money at the temple gate. Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” (Acts 3:6, ESV). Having a right view of mankind comes with a realization that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27). This denotes the intrinsic value of a person. Understanding this value will motivate nurses and midwives to provide quality care to clients/patients and colleagues. However, this correct view of humankind is born out of a personal relationship with God and a reverent fear of him. This raises the need for bringing Jesus to nurses and midwives through evangelistic activities.
In this context, ZNCF responded to the pleas of nurses and midwives without adequate PPE amid the pandemic. Information and education messages were being disseminated by the health department to sensitize the population on preventing the spread of the coronavirus. However, some healthcare providers could not practice safely due to equipment shortages. When accounts of their fears of infection due to inadequate PPE reached ZNCF National Committee members, these members put into practice one of the main aims of ZNCF: to care for the caregivers.
In keeping with Proverbs 3:27, which directs us not to withhold good from those who deserve it when it is in our power to act, local ZNCF members donated 35 boxes of 50-per-pack surgical face masks and 32 boxes of 12 x 400-ml bottles per box of antibacterial hand soap. One committee member sourced 1,700 face shields. The items were distributed to health facilities in Ndola and Kalumbila through the provincial health directors.
Something unusual happened during the handover ceremony in Kalumbila at Mutanda Zonal Health Center. The local chief, who was the guest of honor, gave a cash gift to ZNCF and encouraged the local people to give in kind, so others contributed bags of maize (corn) to be sold for cash donations. The highlight, however, came from a child. This young girl donated a 50 ngwee coin (about 24 cents USD) to ZNCF's ministry work. This act touched the heart of an NCF member who has since pledged to pay for this young girl's education until she completes secondary school. God's Word in Luke 6:38 was indeed fulfilled: “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap” (NIV).
When the schools were reopened, a national committee member sourced thousands of reusable cloth face masks for vulnerable school children in rural areas. St. Francis Hospital ZNCF in Katete distributed 500 masks to pupils at a secondary school in a village. St. Francis College of Nursing's NCF group went to the local prison and blessed 365 inmates with cloth masks as well as toiletries and clothes. In addition, the message of God's love was shared. The inmates and prison authorities were grateful for the gesture.
The donations to the health facilities helped to make ZNCF visible and made the nurses who received the PPE feel valued and cared for. It is hoped that some of those nurses and midwives will join the fellowship.
We trust that these acts of service bear witness to the ministry of Zambia Nurses Christian Fellowship and circle back to the three primary aims, which include telling others about Jesus and inviting them to be part of his eternal kingdom.