Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Begging letter

To all our friends and family,
We’ve been in Africa for 4 months today. It’s about time for another begging letter…. so here goes.
We are working at a hospital in the remote rural community of Ishaka. At any time we have 4 or 5 children on the ward with severe malnutrition. They are all under 5 years old, some are babies as young as 6 months. Some are HIV positive, some are just unlucky enough to be born to very, very poor families. Without proper treatment half of these children are currently dying.
This situation is particularly uncomfortable for us. In the UK we treat patients for free, often for illnesses which arise from excess (smoking, drinking, eating). In Uganda we have to charge the poor for treatment of the diseases of poverty. The charges are low by UK standards, but are simply unaffordable to most Ugandans. More than 50% of the population live on less than $1 a day here. So parents often take their children home before they are better tosave money.
Ideally, we would like the children to stay in hospital for a week, to be fed with high energy milk and be given vitamin supplements, immunisations and antibiotics. This costs £10 and reduces the mortality rate to less than 10%. We would also like to send them home with a mosquito net, a bag of high energy soya and some multivitamins. This would cost another £3.50.
We are setting up a trust fund at the hospital. It would cover the cost of this treatment so that when malnourished children are admitted they are offered the full weeks treatment package for free. The hospital is corruption free and the treasurer would give us regular accounts of how the money is spent. We can continue to deposit money into the trust fund after leaving.
Will you help us do this? Please email me if you feel you can. Thanks.

No comments: