Covid stops medical electives programme, so FOM delivers medical equipment instead
Our MMTA charity is not called ‘Friends of Mufulira’ for nothing and members should be proud that we have now worked with the Mufulira community for over ten years, and are twinned with a part of the world suffering some of the worst side-effects of the pandemic.
According to the John Hopkins University, USA (world authority on Covid statistics), Zambia has vaccinated less the 1% of the population. People we know in Mufulira have had Covid, including the superintendent of Ronald Ross General Hospital, Dr James Matabile, and Andrew Mutambo, a biomedical technician at Malcolm Watson Hospital.
For Covid reasons, student doctors from UK were not permitted to travel under our medical elective programme either in 2020 or 2021. So, to avoid sitting on funds, the charity has done its best to source and deliver medical equipment.
At Christmas 2019/20 we delivered an anaesthetic machine (£22,000) and now in August we are sending a ventilator (£10,000) as well as oxygen masks, drugs including dexamethasone, and 6 oxygen concentrators. All items have been sent to Ronald Ross General Hospital, the main state hospital in the town. The doctors describe these deliveries as morale boosting.
Meantime, Glencore, who since 2000 owned the main copper mine and smelter complex in Mufulira, sold these assets under pressure from the government of President Edgar Lungu. After nationalisation it is now run by government officials under a deal in which Zambia owes $1.5 bln via delivery of copper. Healthy copper prices may allow Zambia to pay off this debt quicker than anticipated, but until then the country will not benefit hugely from this asset. The work that Glencore did in the community to support various clinics, health programmes, sporting clubs, infrastructure, and community programmes has tailed off.
Then, on June 17th of this year, Zambia’s first president, Dr Kaunda (at one time head teacher at Mufulira Mine Basic School in 1946), died at the age of 97. In a country where average life expectancy is below 50 years, Kaunda had effectively led two lives. His was, by any standards, a great life and while, not free from political mistakes, it is one remembered as free from corruption and lauded for its modesty. ‘A great tree has fallen’, said one commentator and many Zambians, for whom Kaunda represented a continuous thread through their lives felt this loss of the father of their nation deeply.
As regards FOM funding, we entered 2021 with a modest £16,000 in the bank marking our commitment to not build up funds for little purpose. Then in July this amount was doubled when the Women’s Rugby Sevens Tournament (scheduled for the Summer of 2020) was cancelled and sponsors diverted funds to FOM. After delivery of this present tranche of medical equipment this month (August) we will be back to about £13,000.
Members of the MMTA would, I hope, expect our charity to be run with the minimum of bureaucracy and a commitment to deliver directly to recipients. This is definitely the case and, in doing so, we highlight how much can be achieved with this template. We know our donations have been a huge morale boost in difficult times and I would exhort members to support our Charity whenever they have a chance to do so or, better still, get involved. If you want to know more, please contact either me, Anthony Lipmann, at email@example.com or Freya Kerwin firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your support.
If you would like to donate to Friends of Mufulira, please donate through our online donation page https://www.goldengiving.com/secure/donation/friends-of-mufulira
Shop on amazon? Select amazon smile and select Friends of Mufulira as your chosen charity and your purchases will support FOM. Link below: https://smile.amazon.co.uk/