Browsing articles in "Initiatives"

Wellingara Health Clinic

Sep 3, 2010
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The Health clinic is a special project that is very important to Meg Lyon.  As a retired nurse she was able to see the strong need for health care facilities in the community, particularly after one of the women in the adult literacy classes died in childbirth. Now, five years after it was originally conceived and four years since the first cement block was laid, the building was completed. This is a testament to the hard work of the architect, local builders, volunteer labourers and generous support of many friends in the UK and Holland, not forgetting the fund raising efforts of the 1to3 Trustees.

The clinic building consists of an Out-patient Centre, Consulting Room, ante and post-natal car rooms, labour ward, pharmacy, shower and toilet facilities. The walls and floors are tiled for easy cleaning.

If funds can be found we hope eventually to build a house on site for a doctor  so that the clinic can cater for admitted in-patients.

Medical staff and the local people are very impressed with the facilities which in addition to the above include a borehole for clean water (also available to local families at set time of the day). The Clinic has mains electricity boosted, or supplanted in times of power cuts, by photovoltaic Solar Panels.

After a very long wait the Department of State for Health signed the Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U.) in August 2011. The Regional Health Team (R.H.T.) has authority over the clinic and the day-to-day running is overseen by the Management Committee, a member of which is a doctor with wide obstetric experience, in attendance every day is the clinic administrator. The RHT ask that the clinic be open 24 hours a day, fully staffed, but at present there are only sufficient funds for two nurse/midwives and the clinic is open 8 am to 8 pm Monday to Friday. Until such time as the ante and post-natal facilities are fully available  staff from a  bigger clinic some miles away come to Wellingara one day each fortnight, this team consists of a Public Health Officer, Midwife, HIV Service Officer, Lab Technician, Data Entry clerk and an ambulance driver. At these times as many as 200 patients attend for ante-natal care and young children receive their innoculations.

Each month the administrator sends 1to3 trustees details of which medical conditions have been treated. This always includes Malaria (see  ‘Malaria and mosquito nets’ ) and typically also pneumonia, wounds, colds etc. In December 2012 of the people attending for treatment there were 120 cases of Malaria, 30 of Pneumonia, 12 with multiple sores, 10 with dental abscesses, 6 with skin infections and 10 with the common cold. In February 2013 1,329 visited the clinic for Reproductive and Child Health services.

A small sum from childrens sponsorship is ring-fenced for any treatment or medication required for those children or their families at the clinic. If necessary transport costs to other medical facilities are also paid from this fund.


Malaria and Mosquito Nets

Sep 3, 2010
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Malaria kills 1500 children annually in the Gambia and it indirectly contributes to the death of hundreds more. serious cases may also result in some physical and mental disabilities (sometimes permanent) to children under five as well as the adult population. In December 2010 90% of patients visiting the Clinic were sufferiing from Malaria , about 85% of cases reported at health facilities are children under five years.

Malaria is both treatable and preventable but taking steps in the latter will greatly save lives and resources.  Minimising the spread of malaria involves two main measures:

.1. Environmental measures to control mosquito breeding; keeping the compound  clean and free from stagnant water and litter.

.2. Measures to protect against mosquito bites – use of bed nets

The cheapest, safest, most environmentally friendly and effective way to protect against bites and infection is the use of bed nets. With many other calls on their income many families cannot afford to buy nets.  We are running a campaign to fund nets for the children and their families, as malaria is the greatest health thereat in the region to young children.

A policy for the fair distribution of nets is now in place. Bought in bulk a double-sized net costs £5.50. A group of specially trained women carry out regular dipping sessions at the clinic. A treated net is the best form of protection from mosquitoes and residents pay around 12p. per net to cover the cost of the chemical dipping tablet.

Individual donations of funds for nets are always welcome.

Red Cross

Sep 3, 2010
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The Red Cross Wellingara Home Link has a small office alongside the clinic.  Young people from the community are trained First Aiders who can treat minor injuries; indeed they are doing so already. In 2007 they were called into action when several compounds in the nearby villages of Sinchu Baliya and Nemakunku were flooded during the rainy season.  Since then they have received further flood disaster response training.

They give voluntary home care to sick people in the community; carry out cleansing operations around the clinic area, market and dump sites.

Sponsor a child today

You have the opportunity to transform many lives by sponsoring a child for £17.50 per month. All of the sponsored money goes to the family and the community.

To find out more, visit the FAQ page and contact Marj Jawo on 01283 561260 or by email