Life-saving medical care
Every 14 seconds a child in Africa loses a parent because of AIDS.
In Zambia, a critical shortage of trained health professionals and a lack of medical facilities has resulted in a desperate situation for many families. Fewer than 700 doctors are available to treat a population of more than 13 million. Half of all children who die before their fifth birthday live in sub-Saharan Africa, with most dying from preventable diseases – pneumonia, malaria, diarrhoea, measles and AIDS.
When they do survive, many children are left orphaned when their parents die prematurely. It is estimated that 690,000 Zambian children are orphans as a result of HIV/AIDS.
In the remote province of Chipata, hundreds of people have to walk many miles for any medical treatment, and facilities are desperately poor even when they arrive.
Keeping families healthy
In Chipata we are saving the lives of children and their parents. Our work ensures that children can develop into healthy adults, and educates communities to prevent the spread of life-threatening diseases.
Our SOS Medical Centre in Chipata provides vital, quality healthcare to meet the needs of 5,000 patients every year. The centre offers vaccinations against disease, gives advice on hygiene, nutrition, first aid and family planning, and provides education on HIV/AIDS.
We also run an SOS mobile medical unit from a specially adapted vehicle which travels round isolated communities, reaching out to 15,000 rural families unable to make the journey to the Medical Centre. In addition to dispensing treatments, our staff provide health education for parents and communities.
Life after death: SOS Children’s Mobile Medical Clinic
For Simon Jukes, a 40-year-old British banker, pneumonia was a third-world disease, or at least something that affected only the elderly or severely ill. That was until his wife Debbie contracted and died suddenly of the disease at the age of 37.
Following Debbie’s death, Simon was devastated, and felt compelled to do something life-changing for others. He wanted to help prevent pneumonia, a killer of two million children every year, primarily in Asia and Africa.
Simon decided to support the development of SOS Children's mobile medical unit in Chipata. The 3.5 tonne specially equipped Toyota bus would carry a clinical officer and two nurses who would provide diagnoses and life-saving medicine to thousands of families a year in rural communities surrounding Chipata. Equally important, the medical unit would ensure children could be immunised against common childhood diseases that often kill unprotected children.
Simon began fundraising for the medical unit. He started running marathons and inspired others to begin their own fundraising projects. Eighteen months later, he had raised £100,000.
In November 2011, he was present for the launch of the mobile medical unit, appropriately named ‘Debbie’s bus’. On its maiden journey and stocked with medications for diarrhoea, malaria, HIV/AIDS and antibiotics for a range of infections, the bus travelled to a local community.
Within an hour and a half, 49 children and mothers had been registered, seen by the nurses and given appropriate drugs. Another 13 more serious cases were further examined and treated by the clinical officer. Two of these children were critically ill.
'Debbie’s Bus' continues to provide life-saving treatment to thousands of desperate families, and gives hope and reassurance to a community desperately in need.
Give a child a healthy future
With your help we can save the lives of Zambian children and their parents and carers.
Just £5 per month would cover basic medicine for 12 children, enabling them to grow up healthy and with hope for the future.