Every year, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of children, mothers and fathers, and elders in sub-Saharan African countries die needlessly due to easily preventable and treatable diseases, and whose lives could be saved with basic medicines.
In 2021, the most current statistics available, 619,000 people died because of malaria alone, the vast majority in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Health Organization which reported, “The WHO African Region carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2021, the region was home to 95 percent of malaria cases, and 96 percent of malaria deaths. Children under 5 accounted for about 80 percent of all malaria deaths in the region.”
At Bread and Water for Africa®, we work to help fight the scourge of malaria and other potentially deadly maladies through our support of hospitals and clinics which provide free and/or extremely low-cost treatment for those living in dire poverty.
In fact, in 2022, our partners in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Sierra Leone operating 93 medical facilities primarily in rural, remote communities where they are the only healthcare provider in the area provided medical care to more than 80,000 individuals – no doubt to many who would not be alive today but for them.
For example, this past year thanks to our supporters and partners her in the U.S., such as the University of Virginia Hospital system, we were able to ship medicines, medical supplies, and hospital equipment to Ethiopia for use by the Haramaya University health system which operates an extensive network of clinics and hospitals throughout the country.
In Sierra Leone, 53-year-old Madam Kadie Foday is thankful to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® for the medicines and treatment she received at a clinic operated by our partner there, Rural Youth Development Organization – Sierra Leone (RYDO-SL) for a severe, debilitating case of gout.
(Gout, a common form of inflammatory arthritis that is very painful and potentially disabling, will not directly cause death, but it may lead to life-threatening complications, including increasing the risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart failure, heart attack, and stroke, without proper treatment, according to the Arthritis Foundation.)
Fortunately for Madam Foday, she was able to visit a nearby RYDO-SL clinic to seek help with her illness where she was treated with Colchicine, an anti-inflammatory drug, provided by another of our partners, Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) and shipped to the country by Bread and Water for Africa®.
“This is the first time to receive medicine for my illness,” she told us. “Many times, I had been advised to seek a surgical operation. Thank you, supporters, of Bread and Water for Africa®.”
By working together, Bread and Water for Africa® and CMMB are able to support RYDO-SL in its mission to prevent and treat a wide variety of sicknesses including malaria, dysentery, yellow fever, typhoid – and even gout – along with many other illnesses.
Most recently, in December, thanks again as always to our supporters, we were able to provide grant funding to our partner in Malawi, Our Aim Foundation (OAF) to expand the use of its mobile medical clinic to those in desperate need of treatment in dozens of rural villages but who are unable to travel the 100 miles, round trip, to see a doctor.
Among those treated at one of the clinic excursions, was 89-year-old Madalitso Banda, a resident of the small village of Chifpo, who was not feeling well, according to OAF program manager Sabrina Vatanshoeva.
“When our nurse checked his vitals, it was found that he had hypertension,” Sabrina reported. “After being helped with medication, he was very thankful.”
And as for Mr. Banda himself, he told us, “I hadn’t been feeling well for a while, but I could not travel to a hospital as they are very far from here. Thank you so much for coming to my aid.”
As we are committed to doing every year, we have been planning for months to prepare, and budget, for healthcare programs and services for the coming year which includes cash grants to our partners who operate hospitals, clinics, and medical facilities in both very rural and remote locations as well as those situated in urban areas in Cameroon, Kenya, and Sierra Leone.
This year, as part of our community empowerment support, we also will be collaborating with our partner in Malawi, Our AIM Foundation, to sponsor a mobile outreach clinic to bring medical services to impoverished residents of 125 villages across the Mchinji District to those who are unable to travel long distances for healthcare such as treatment of malaria and chronic conditions including hypertension and diabetes, which otherwise go undiagnosed and untreated.
In addition, this year we will be working to raise funding for the renovation of two remote clinics in Sierra Leone. Our fear is that the clinics, which provide the only medical care in the region for hundreds, could be forced to close without our support.
We will also be working as we have for years to ship 40-foot containers filled with donated medicines, medical supplies, and equipment as well as wheelchairs to our healthcare partners in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Sierra Leone providing them with the items they need to help thousands recover from illnesses, and in some cases even save lives.
Year after year, decade after decade, Bread and Water for Africa® is there for tens of thousands just like Madam Foday and Mr. Banda to ease their pain and suffering, and frequently to help save their lives – all thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®!