Four Langley Rotary Clubs want money, $105,000 should do it.
Club members are no strangers to fundraising.
Local Rotary Clubs are involved in various community efforts such as scholarships, Langley Memorial Hospital, the Gateway of Hope, and the Langley Has Talent contest that is fundraising for a local performing arts theatre.
But this money is earmarked for saving lives and members are starting in Africa. The clubs (Langley, Aldergrove, Langley Central and Langley Sunrise) have created International Health Langley.
"We hope IHLangley will be an enduring collaboration of local Rotary Clubs with a goal of improving health care abroad in the most needy communities," explained Dr. Brendan Martin, a club spokesperson.
He visited Howard Hospital in Glendale, Zimbabwe in 2010, where the club will start its helping efforts. It's run by Canadian Dr. Paul Thistle and serves 270,000 people.
"The staff work heroically to care for a population more than twice that of Langley, on about one per cent of our budget," Martin said. "The shortage of supplies, medical equipment and personnel is in part what I imagine battle conditions are like. On returning to Langley hospital the contrast in organization and relative abundance was quite dazzling."
The clubs are working to raise $30,000 in addition to the $75,000 in various Rotary International grants.
Rotarian Terry Smith, who has visited Africa, suggested trying to help and the idea of a multiple club project was born. International Health Langley has received strong support from members. Martin plans to return in 2013 to help at the hospital founded in 1923.
Aldergrove club member Katy Loewen is in Africa with a mission group from Sonrise Church.
"Her group heard in the week before leaving, that Howard Hospital has run short of surgical gauze and Zantac for ulcer treatment," Martin said.
Her group bought $1,750 in supplies for the hospital and she will return with an update.
The Canadian clubs will work with Rotary Clubs in Zimbabwe and have a list of the most needed equipment from Dr. Thistle.
"Maternal health, newborn care and diagnosis of tuberculosis are some of the priorities," Martin said.
Howard Hospital will order the supplies and Rotarians in Africa will help on the ground to ensure the supplies get to the hospital.
The wish list: equipment for the rapid diagnosis of TB so results come in 90 minutes rather than six weeks, an X-ray machine and film for TB screening, colposcopy and cryotherapy to prevent cancer of the cervix, other supplies for women's health, external fetal monitoring, an infant resuscitation station, neonatal incubators, oxygen concentrators, and medications to treat opportunistic infections.
Dr. Thistle will be coming to Langley June 27 for a presentation that will be open to the public. Watch for more details as the event nears.
People interested in helping can contact Martin at 6047822157 or bemartin50@hotmail. com, or Wayne Crossen at 604530-7764 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tax receipts are available.
Martin has lived in Langley since 1991, practising family medicine in Dublin, Toronto and Winnipeg before here.
His visit to Howard Hospital remains a high point in his life.
"I was overcome with gratitude that I was with them in 2010 even if only for a short time. To sojourn on this planet without knowing people such as these would have been a life at least partly misspent," he noted.
The clubs joining to together on this international health project won't mean their efforts here will be dropped or diminished.
Martin said it's not a choice between helping people here or abroad.
"It's just a decision to help people," he said.
@ Copyright 2013