My name is Isaac Zyambo. I was born in Lusaka on 26th January 1976, the second in a family of 10 (5 brothers and 4 sisters). I am Tumbuka by tribe from the eastern part of Zambia. I am married to a very beautiful wife, Carol Musakanya, and blessed with a handsome son, Michel Isaac Zyambo. I was raised and went to primary school in Lusaka, Zambia.
I attended junior and senior secondary school in the Copperbelt province of Zambia. Junior secondary school (grade 8-9) was at Nkana Secondary and senior secondary (grade 10-12) was at Kitwe Boys’ Secondary.
Work and training
It was always my dream to be a technician after school. I got the inspiration from my father who was a laboratory technician in the Dairy Industry.
I did community work as a volunteer at our church, caring for the sick – mostly patients living with HIV – for six months before joining the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka in 1998 as an Orthopaedic Assistant (bench worker).
We had in-service training in prosthetics and orthotics for one year six months and I successfully graduated but my desire was to attend a formal school like TATCOT.
To find sponsorship was hard to find from International Organisations and Zambian Government.
In 2001 I joined the Zambian-Italian Orthopaedic Hospital (ZIOH) in Lusaka hoping to find sponsorship to go and study prosthetics and orthotics in Tanzania (TATCOT) but that was not the case. As you know it is difficult to be sponsored by a private company or hospital. Since studying was on my agenda, I applied to ICRC SFD to attend a module in polypropylene technology. I was accepted as a private student for the 2006 January intake. It was a wonderful experience for I learnt a lot from SFD modules. So far I have done 7 different interesting modules in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
When I was about to loose hope of going to school (TATCOT) God opened the door me. 500 miles came to Zambia in 2008 and partnered with ZIOH and FlySpec.
An MoU was signed which saw the ZIOH prosthetics and orthotics centre receive support, including training of the staff and the funding of outreach projects with FlySpec. With outreach projects, 500 miles started putting smiles on people who never knew that they would walk and work again in their lives. People who had not had access to prosthetic and orthotic services because of long distances to orthopaedic centres (mostly in Lusaka) started receiving services. Amputees used self-made prostheses out of wood to enable them walk. They developed other complications like contractures because of using these self-made prostheses. Now they are happy because with using modern prostheses, they can put shoes on both sides.
I was the first technician from ZIOH to go on outreach with Fyspec/500 miles in May 2008.
500 miles is still trying to fund the following centres to pay buy a prosthetics and orthotics service from the workshop at ZIOH:
- Mongu Cheshire Home
- Chitokoloki Mission Hospital
- Mukinge Hospital
- Kalene Mission Hospital
- St Francis Mission Hospital
- Chilonga Mission Hospital
- Mansa General (Government) Hospital
- Kasama General (Government) Hospital
- Mbala General (Government) Hospital
- Holy Family Rehabilitation Centre, Monze
In October 2008, 500 miles sponsored me to do a certificate course in lower limb orthotics at TATCOT in Tanzania. I graduated in 2009 July.
I am a christian Catholic.
I love the P&O profession. I have seen people who have lost hope in life after loosing a limb. I have made them walk twice on earth and seem them go on to lead a happy life. I enjoy happy moments when I see amputees walk and work again.
I love cooking for my family and visitors. I also enjoy farming.
Many thanks to my parents, wife, brothers, sisters, UTH orthpaedic staff, ZIOH staff, Sr Egidia, P&O Patients, Olivia Giles, 500 miles, FlySpec, ICRC SFD Staff, Mr Zeon De Wet and many more for giving me support to continue working for people who need my services. It has been a tough journey.
To all this may Glory be to God.