09 Apr The gift of water
Medic Malawi is one of three Shropshire organisations who have joined forces to secure a permanent water supply for a hospital in a rural area of one of the most impoverished countries in Africa.
The water shortage crisis in Malawi has resulted in the hospital being at risk of having its water supply turned off.
Medic Malawi, which funds the hospital in Mtunthama, is working with Wellington Rotary Club and consultancy Hafren Water of Shrewsbury to find a solution to the problem, which could save thousands of pounds in bills and secure the supply.
Stephen Drew, who took over the charity in 2011 after retiring as principal of Wrekin College, said: “Water is a basic commodity but as with many African countries it is scarce.
“This is true for our hospital. Obviously, a clean water supply is vital for the work of the medical staff.
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“The hospital is growing all of the time and the expansion has included a medical laboratory, an operating theatre donated by Aspect Capital UK, and new wards.
“There are many more things that we are planning, including a new children’s ward. Having our own water supply is very important.”
He added: “For people in the UK the supply of water is not something we have to think about every day. It is taken for granted.
“However, in Malawi it’s a different story. When I was in Malawi I remember a woman at a water pump asking me “how many taps do you have in your house in England, Sir?”
“For the people in Malawi there’s always the threat that there will be no water. At the hospital at the moment all of our water comes from a nearby school – and they are often short themselves. We are very vulnerable – they could have to turn it off. “
As part of the investigations into the hospital’s water supply, Wellington Rotary Club raised £5,500 to fund the expenses of Chris Leake, of Hafren Water, to fly to Mtunthama where he has made a specialist analysis of the supply, and produced recommendations which Mr Drew says “will guarantee that most precious of things, plentiful clean water when it is needed”.
Mr Drew said: “He has produced a very detailed and positive report with recommendations which would establish our independent water supply, and save the charity thousands of pounds in water bills.”
Anybody who would like to find out more about the charity should visit www.medicmalawi.org or call Mr Drew on (01743) 614597