Zambia Flying Doctors Service (ZFDS): Papers donated by multiple individuals involved with ZFDS
- Archives and manuscripts
About this work
Margaret Lawless' handwritten journals
Black and white print photogrpahs
35mm photographic transparencies
Administrative documents relating to the creation and running of the ZFDS
Correspondence with the Zambian president and his ministers.
Press cuttings relating to the service.
Dr James Lawless practiced medicine in an established hospital in Zambia. He was friends with Kenneth Kaunda (later President of Zambia) and Andrew Mukemba (later a government minister). Motivated to find a solution to the cases he saw of people who could have been saved if they'd received medical treatment in time, he suggested creationg a children's hospital and a flying doctor service. With the support of Kaunda and Mukemba, Dr James Lawless and his wife Dr Margaret Lawless wrote a plan to create a children's hospital and a flying drs service that would be able to reach remote rural parts of the country, "the aim was to ensure that no one was more than one day's journey on foot from a doctor" (Dr J Lawless unpublished memoir).
The Drs Lawless were able to find funding for the Zambian Flying Doctors Service from America, Ireland and the new Zambian government (1964). The original concept was that local people would be trained up as time went on, but that the medical staff would be made up of early career people from Ireland, America and the UK. These medical students and graduates answered advertisements in the BMJ to spend periods of time, usually 6 months, working for the ZFDS.
Over time the competing financial pressures and competition for funding within the new government, as well as racial and postcolonial tensions, and inter-African politics led to the end of this version of the ZFDS, and the creation of a service led and staffed by Zambian nationals.