Sat 17 September 17 2022Men's Season Starts (0:00) View more

Good news out of adversity

In the summer of 2020 Thamesians RFC ladies team were due to tour Zambia. This was not just a rugby tour. It was intended to give our hosts in Mufulira the rare chance to play against a team from outside sub- Saharan Africa. At the same time the hope was to involve the girls in outreach in local schools and hospitals. I fervently hope that this might still happen one day but for now Covid has made such a venture impossible

This proposition was only possible with the enormous generosity of sponsors. Around £12,500 was given to our ladies team to make this dream possible.

Now that this cannot happen there is still an incredibly positive outcome. The sponsors have left around £5000 with the club to promote ladies rugby. The balance has gone to the Friends of Mufulira Charity to make a real impact. A little bit about this charity is below provided by Anthony Lipmann who worked so hard to put together the original concept -

2009: MMTA creates formal links with Mufulira
Following a visit to Mufulira in 2009, I got together with fellow members of The Minor Metals Trade Association to link our Association with this mining town. The reason was to highlight the beginning of the metals supply chain, and conditions prevailing in such communities.

Before forming a registered UK Charity, we raised funds unofficially for works focused on hospitals and medical outcomes. Our link was with a district hospital on the outskirts of Mufulira calledKamuchanga District Hospital. We also performed advocacy v airborne sulphur pollution and other issues caused by mining/smelting.

£30,000 was spent on renewing the water supply at Kamuchanga District Hospital. (The hospital had been used to water collected a few times a day when the water was on, and storing in oil barrels). We water consultants, followed by new reticulation, electric pumps and water storage in 2 x 5000 litres tanks and a third underground tank.

£15,000 was spent to deliver a refurbished second hand anaesthetic machine (still working today) which enabled caesarean operations on women with late showing pregnancy complications. This was the first anaesthetic machine near the community and so saved lives as difficulties always arose too late for the mother to be sent across bumpy roads to the main hospital.

2017 ‘Friends of Mufulira’ formally allocated UK Charity no. 1176062

Genesis: In 2015 I was contacted by a UK doctor who had come across my name in relation to Mufulira. He wanted to re-visit the town where he had performed his elective in 1977. I was able to facilitate his trip and introductions to local doctors. Upon his return he wanted to revive an elective programme with the town that had given him so much as he started out in medical practice. His name is Dr Robin Gleek and is a Trustee of FOM and his knowledge informs all our work.

It’s aims:-

  • To fund a bursary for UK student doctors’ overseas elective, to be carried out in Mufulira
  • To fund and deliver key medical equipment or consumables for local hospitals and/or clinics

[In practice our link today is with the main state district hospital in Mufulira – Ronald Ross General Hospital (RRGH)]

Since 2016 we have funded the travel and subsistence of following doctors:-

  • David Clayton (2016)
  • Josh Hulman & Helen Wanstall (2017)
  • Rob Holden (2017)
  • Laura Jayne Stenhouse and Beth Wardle (2018)
  • Olufemi Olatigbe, Amber Hurry, Sarah Adewunmi, Gamuchirai Nehta (2019)
  • Andrew Feeney. Roksana Swiderska (2020 cancelled)

Examples of Medical equipment supplied include:-

  • ECG Heart Monitor Machine
  • Copies of British National Formulary Books (BNF) – the gold standard guide for application of correct type/dosages of medical drugs
  • Orthopaedic shoes (119 pairs)
  • Littmann stethoscopes
  • Blood pressure monitors

Examples of Medical equipment supplied in 2020 include

  • Universal Anaesthetic Machine + training (2020) £22k

[The above machine was purchased from Gradian but invented and made in UK by OES-Medical of Witney Oxon. It was designed for use in Africa. It has built in oxygen concentrator (removes nitrogen in atmosphere while in operation, thus obviating dependence on delivery of oxygen cylinders). Also battery-pack with 7.5 hrs life so that operations may continue uninterrupted during electricity outages.]

Today our Charity continues to work closely with members of the MMTA who make up most of the Trustees and we continue to be able to provide intelligent charity with point to point delivery. Our Charity pays no salaries and has almost no costs other than cost of preparing accounts. Admin is handled by Trustees and the MMTAs general manager, Freya Kerwin, who has previous experience with UNHCR. Her work behind the scenes is invaluable.

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