«To contribute to a world where a safe birth and upbringing for granted». This is the vision of Medical Students’ humanitarian action (MedHum) in 2014, where they will raise funds to support the work Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) does for mothers and children in the Bo District in Sierra Leone.
In 2014 MedHum will be organised for the 13th time. The medical students have managed to raise over 15 million NOK during all previous MedHum. The money they raise are donated to various health related charities across the world. The Kvali Trust and other supporters of MedHum cover its operating expenses, so that all donations gained by MedHum goes directly to the chosen charity. This year’s MedHum wish to support the important work Doctors Without Borders is doing in Sierra Leone. They strive to give mothers a chance to survive childbirth and the children a chance to grow up. The money raised by MedHum will be used to buy medicine, vaccines, medical equipment and training of local personnel at the Gondama Referral Centre.
High mother and child mortality in Sierra Leone
Every day about 80 women lose their life in connection to childbirth worldwide. The vast majority of these deaths could easily have been avoided if the women had access to basic health care. Sierra Leone only scores a 180 place out of 187 countries on UNs Human Developement Index (HDI) and has a very high mother and child mortality rate. Data estimates illustrates that 165 out of 1000 children die before they turn five years old and 890 of 100,000 women die while giving birth. Only 40 percent of women give birth with qualified health care personnel present. Lack of qualified health care personnel, complicated births, infections and bleeding are some of the causes behind the high mother mortality rate. Children and pregnant women are vulnerable to potentially lethal diseases like typhoid fever, malaria, tuberculosis, Lassa fever and diarrhoea. These diseases can easily be prevented and treated by simple measures.
Gondama Referral Centre
In collaboration with the Ministry of Health in Sierra Leone, Doctors Without Borders started the Gondama Referral Centre – the largest hospital in Bo District in Sierra Leone. The hospital offers free health care to pregnant women and children below 15 years. Women in need of emergency obstetric and sick children are occasionally admitted from other clinics that do not have the capacity to take care of their patients. The staff at the Gondama Referral Centre include obstetricians, gynecologists, pediatricians and nurses from Doctors Without Borders. The physicians work side by side with local field staff in order to provide the best possible treatment to the patients.
Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders was established in France, 1971. It’s an apolitical and neutral organisation aiming to save lives in conflict areas. In 1999, Doctors Without Borders won the Nobel Peace Prize for its “commitment to humanitarian work in several continents”. Doctors Without Borders provides free health care and training of health care personnel. They share their expertise and when needed advices the authorities in health related issues. Their presence in various disadvantaged local communities and conflict areas is often of vital importance to the inhabitant’s health care. The Medical students wished to support Doctors Without Borders and especially their efforts to improve the mortality rate for mothers and children in Sierra Leone.
The Kavli Trust
The Kavli Trust was established by Knut Kavli in 1962. TheKavli Trust owns all shares in the Kavli Group and donates most of the company’s profit to charities. In 2012, the Kavli Trust donated 25 million NOK to its three focus areas: research, culture and humanitarian work.