Aiming for Prevention: International Initiatives

Austrian Medical Student Isabella Stelzig with colleagues in Lusaka, Zambia. Photo:IPPNW

Aiming For Prevention logoIPPNW Zambia/Austria collaborate to help victims of violence

Can a grassroots project with volunteer enthusiasm but a low budget succeed in helping survivors of violence?  IPPNW doctors Michael Schober, Austria and Bob Mtonga, Zambia embarked on an ambitious project to see if they could improve care outcomes for survivors in Lusaka, Zambia. Project findings published in the journal Injury Preventionshow promise.  

 “We focused on developing low-cost intervention tools and building on the existing health and social services infrastructures in Lusaka,” said Dr. Schober. The project was designed to raise awareness about social and other services available to survivors. And, to facilitate improved networking among the service organizations caring for victims.  

More than 30 medical students from Austria and Zambia collected data over one year at the emergency room of the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka and at the service agencies. Austrian students were trained in project goals and cultural sensitivity. They were overseen by medical supervisors and supported by local medical personnel. Read one student’s experience. Eight local social service agencies partnered on the project.

Surveys were conducted before and after distributing brochures and other materials with service agency contact information at key locations. Analysis revealed that after the intervention survivors had an improved understanding of social services available to them, and how to contact those services and more confidence in articulating health concerns.

All the participants benefited in multiple ways. “We will try to facilitate ongoing partner networking,” said Dr. Mtonga.

Team Zambia/Austria encourages colleagues to adapt or replicate this initiative for the benefit of survivors of interpersonal violence. Please contact  for details.