When children in the remote villages of sub-Saharan Africa are ill or in pain, they have no hope of seeing a doctor or nurse. Poverty exacerbates the issues caused by a lack of transport and infrastructure - together, these problems deny children access to proper medical care.
The children we focus on live in villages with no motorised transport, at least 24 kilometres from the nearest tarmac roads and more than 40 kilometres from any medical facilities. Even if a sick child is able to make the journey to a public hospital, there often aren’t enough qualified staff and the pharmacy shelves are usually empty. While the private and mission hospitals in Malawi offer qualified treatment and medicine, all of this must be paid for - and the costs are beyond the means of the poor.
We have worked in Malawi since 1998, initially caring for AIDS orphans and were horrified to discover the level of morbidity and mortality suffered by the young in the rural areas. We came up with a simple solution, a Children's Mobile Clinic. A rugged 4 x 4 carrying a clinical team and medicines. Visiting village sites on a monthly basis we treat over 30,000 cases of sick children every year, saving many, many young lives.
Some of the children we see require minor surgery so we set up a Mobile Surgical Unit, an operating theatre on wheels converted from an ex Army 10 ton truck, to perform minor surgery deep in the African bush. See the Ken Howard film on our work. Some of the children we see are innocent victims of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, infected at birth by their HIV positive mothers. We have set up an antiretroviral therapy programme for them named Thandizo (Helping in Chichewa) that is producing amazing results and has been certified as a Centre of Excellence.
We receive no governmental funding, rely entirely on donations and operate with minimal administrative costs (less than 4%).