Langley Rotarians help babies in Zimbabwe

A one-day fundraiser by Langley Rotarians has sent $57,000 worth of medical equipment to an underfunded hospital in Zimbabwe.

Dr. Paul Thistle is a Canadian obstetrician who has spent almost two decades in Zimbabwe, a poor country in southern Africa.

In the last few months, Thistle has begun using the equipment shipped over thanks to a fundraising effort held at Langley’s Gateway of Hope shelter in 2012. Thistle spoke there about his work over the years and the need for better equipment to save lives.

In a letter this month to the Rotarians of Langley, Thistle talked about how the equipment has helped specific patients.

“We admitted a four-week-old baby boy, born at a local rural health clinic in the Mount Darwin district of rural Zimbabwe,” Thistle wrote.

“He presented with fever, vomiting and jaundice, and was diagnosed as having neonatal sepsis. Too weak to breastfeed, he is receiving breast milk by cup, intravenous antibiotics, phototherapy, and oxygen via the new oxygen concentrator donated by the Langley Rotary Maternal Child Health project.”

Another patient, a mother of four with HIV, was admitted with abdominal pain and swelling. An ultrasound diagnosed an internal abscess and intestinal blockage. The X-ray film used in diagnosis were paid for by the Rotary fundraisers.

The woman underwent a successful surgery.

“She is now recovering on intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and oxygen via an oxygen concentrator, the latter another donation of the Langley Rotary Maternal Child Health project,” Thistle wrote.

The rural Mount Darwin district has thousands of people living with HIV, most of them taking anti-retroviral medications to keep the disease in check. They are supported by a network of hospital staff, counsellors, and village health workers. “We hope that she and her family will be added to this list soon,” Thistle said.

The money for the equipment and support of Thistle’s work came from four local Rotary clubs as well as private individuals who came to the 2012 fundraiser, said Dr. Brendan Martin, a local physician and one of the Rotary event’s organizers.

He visited Thistle in Africa in 2010 and worked with him there. “I was really struck by the paucity of supplies that they had,” he said.

The new equipment paid for by Rotary’s fund was sent to Zimbabwe starting in September last year, and most of it has now been installed, Martin said.

Equipment that is taken for granted in Canada simply isn’t available in many hospitals and clinics, Martin said.

After a long career mostly with the Salvation Army, Thistle left that service last year and switched to working at a new, remote clinic about 200 kilometres from Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe has been a troubled country for more than a decade, suffering through hyperinflation and violent, manipulated elections.

Just Posted

Mark Warawa won’t run in the next election

Langley MP issues a statement about his impending retirement from politics.

Giants defenceman Bowen Byram named WHL On the Run Player of the Week

Registered three goals and three assists in a pair of victories for Langley-based team

British wheels have a certain appeal

Langley Area Mostly British Motoring Club celebrates English auto design

LETTER: Langley resident says a cancer plague is building

A Langley City man believes a poor diet and unhealed emotions are part of his cancer journey.

‘Diamond’ for Aldergrove rock fans

Fraser Valley Rock and Gem Club marks 60 years in Aldergrove

UK lawmakers reject Brexit deal in 432-202 vote

House of Commons votes against the deal struck between Britain’s government and the EU

Millennial Money: Don’t let Instagram envy get you into debt

A full 48 per cent of U.S. households have credit card debt

Jury debates fate of man accused of killing 12-year-old B.C. girl 40 years ago

Police allege Garry Handlen told a cop how he abducted, sexually assaulted and strangled Monica Jack in May 1978

Letters on way to all homeowners in B.C. speculation tax communities

Property owners have to register to avoid vacant-home tax

New orca calf in Salish Sea ‘healthy and active’

Birth cause for celebration but things still dire genetically, expert says

Good Samaritan rescues cat found in heaps of garbage at B.C. landfill

The cat was abandoned and left to die at the Foothills Boulevard Regional Landfill, the BC SPCA says

Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna home to Canada’s most expensive rentals: report

According to PadMapper, units in larger B.C. cities cost $1,300 to more than $3,000

Former MP Svend Robinson wants to return to politics

Robinson is expected to be acclaimed as the NDP candidate in the riding of Burnaby North-Seymour

Most Read