Photos: Health Care in Zambia

Zambia 2013

By Lauren Bohn

July 30, 2013

Also published at Lauren on the Road


More than 200 million people suffered from malaria in 2010 and nearly 655,000 died, most of them children under age 5. Most deaths and cases occur in sub-saharan Africa. Here, 3-year-old Maddy waits with her mother for malaria medication at a free clinic in Zambia. Check out the work Gates Foundation is doing to eradicate a deadly disease with a severe economic impact.

This HIV-testing tent outside a supermarket in Lusaka, Zambia, tests about 100 shoppers a day. The country prevalence rate of HIV is currently 12.5 percent.


I walked into a salon this morning in N’Gombe village, a poor compound in Lusaka, Zambia. 15-year-old Maggie, who does her friends’ hair there before and after school, saw my camera and immediately placed her hand on her hip for an impromptu photo-shoot, asking “Do you know Kanye West?”

Wise words hanging in Zambian home.

28-year-old Sally waits for a cervical cancer screening at a free-clinic in Lusaka. Zambia has launched a major awareness campaign around HPV and cervical cancer, introducing the HPV vaccine for girls in 3 pilot schools.

Quite possibly the spunkiest kid in Zambia. “They said I look like Notorious B.I.G, but Jay-Z is king."

Fierce community health worker, Evelyn, on Zambia-Malawi border. Due to a staggering deficit of doctors and clinics in rural Zambia, volunteers like Evelyn are trained to administer basic diagnostic tests and procedures, as well as to monitor thousands living with HIV/AIDs, TB, Malaria, and other diseases.

Meet rockstar 4-year-old Kolosa, a burn victim being treated by only specialist doctor in Zambia (Treats patients from Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique). Kolosa, who wants to play football, is getting ready for his third reconstructive operation and wouldn’t let me leave the clinic without a high-five.

Patients from southern Zambia have travelled hundreds of miles to see Dr. Lumuno, a renowned traditional healer. Mildred (far right), 34, travelled four hours by bus and foot, in hopes Lumuno can cure a severe infection and inflammation of the jaw (which doctors say most likely started as a simple cavity years ago). Specialists in the capital say she needs a piece of her jaw removed, surgery she cannot afford. Each patient who stays in “the healer’s field" builds his or her own hut. Some stay several months. In a deeply centralized country, with a paralyzing urban and rural divide, such treks are the norm. Zambia is one of southern Africa’s fastest growing economies, but economic prosperity hasn’t yet trickled down to two-thirds of Zambians living on less than $2 a day.

Lauren E. Bohn is a 2013 IRP Zambia Fellow.