This Friday, April 7, marks the 75th anniversary of the World Health Organization’s World Health Day when “in 1948 countries of the world came together and founded WHO to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable – so everyone, everywhere can attain the highest level of health and well-being.”
This year, the WHO, along with its 194 member states and other partners, are calling for a renewed drive for health equity – something that Bread and Water for Africa® has been doing for nearly three decades.
From our inception in 1997, Bread and Water for Africa® has been focused on providing health care to children, women and men in the most rural, isolated regions of sub-Saharan Africa for those who would otherwise go without medical care that would prevent many from contracting life-threatening illnesses and diseases, and help save the lives of those who do.
In fact, working with grassroots nonprofit organizations which provide healthcare services in countries including Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Zambia over the years – thanks to our supporters across the country – we have shipped well over $250 million worth of donated medicines, medical supplies and equipment for use in more than 100 clinics, hospitals and health centers which has benefited untold millions of individuals.
For example, in 1999 we began our longstanding partnership with Faith Healing Development Organization (FHDO) in Sierra Leone (a partnership that continues to this day) when the beleaguered, impoverished country was in the midst of a devastating and tragic civil war.
It was FHDO’s founder and director Rev. Frances Mambu, doing all he could while overseeing three medical clinics at the time, who told us those many years ago:
“The health situation in the country in the country is very grave due to the poor medical facilities and overwhelming need…to be candid people are dying daily due to poor medical care.”
Of course, we could not refuse Rev. Mambu’s urgent request, so, again thanks to our supporters, we were able to provide FHDO with emergency grant funding to help meet the clinics’ great need for medicines and medical supplies and equipment.
Shortly thereafter, Rev. Mambu reported: “Relief items have been bought with your assistance, and distributed among the people who are seriously suffering.”
In the years that followed, sadly the need remains great as Sierra Leone remains among the countries with the highest maternal and infant mortality rates around the world.
In fact, according to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, today Sierra Leone has the fifth-highest infant mortality rate (after Afghanistan, Somalia, Central African Republic and Equatorial Guinea) in the world at 72 deaths per 1,000 live births – that’s seven deaths for every 100 live births! – compared to five deaths per 1,000 in the U.S.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the continent in East Africa, Bread and Water for Africa® has been partnering for years with Haramaya University’s College of Medical Science and Health Services in Ethiopia which provides health care services through its numerous hospitals and clinics throughout the country by shipping donated medical supplies there year after year.
Most recently, we have expanded our health care support program to Malawi – currently experiencing a massive cholera outbreak – through our partnership with the Our AIM Foundation which operates a mobile medical clinic to serve residents living in 125 rural and extremely remote villages where the nearest health facility is more than 50 miles away.
Each outreach clinic operation serves about 200 individuals where patients are commonly treated for malaria, chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, and today, cholera.
And in 2022 alone, our dedicated and caring partners in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Malawi, Kenya, and Sierra Leone are operating 93 medical facilities primarily located in remote communities where they are the only healthcare provider which combined last year served more than 80,000 individuals – no doubt many who would not be alive today but for them.
The theme of this year’s World Health Day is “Health For All,” something we strive to continue to do this year, and for many more years to come.