Manchester Airport’s support to Ugandan medical centre extension progressing well

18th October 2013

Charity fundraising by Manchester Airport has supported the expansion to Medcare’s Wellspring Children’s Medical Centre in Kamutuuza, Uganda and is now well on its way to being completed.

Construction work to improve the medical centre began in May this year following a year of airport fundraising and is expected to be complete in the New Year 2014. The extension doubles the size of the malaria ward - 50% of the children coming into the clinic at present are malaria victims and 11,000 children a year are currently treated at the medical centre.

Manchester Airport announced it would be partnering with Cheshire-based Medcare in October 2011 and has to date raised almost 200,000 for the charity. Activities and events have included a recent choir concert at the Bridgewater Hall which reunited choirs from the BBC 2 show – ‘Sing while you work’, collecting foreign currency in arrivals at Manchester Airport, airport staff taking part in charity bike rides and the ultimate fitness event - Tough Mudder - plus golf days and the Medcare Ball at the Hilton Hotel in Manchester.

The first part of the medical centre opened in 2008, providing general health care, vaccinations, and acute malaria care to some of the most vulnerable children in Africa, together with sponsorship of children with HIV/AIDS and those with disabilities. Medcare was established in January 2011 and took over the medical work at the Wellspring Children’s Medical Centre.

Since then over 30,000 children have been treated at the centre; however a site visit by Manchester Airports Group (MAG) representatives, including project managers and supply chain staff, identified several improvements that could be made, including an expansion to the building to facilitate more medical equipment and services.

Over 30,000 of brand new medical equipment, including hospital beds, wheelchairs, microscopes, mosquito nets, crutches and walking aids, is due to be shipped over to Uganda in December and installed in the medical centre. Medcare Chairwoman, Dr Pauline Hutchinson said: “Since the medical centre opened thousands of children’s lives have been saved. We realised that more could be done to save even more lives and improvements plus an expansion to the existing facilities could achieve that.

“Once the expansion project is completed it gives us the ability to save the lives of an additional 5,000 children every year, as well as catering better for AIDS/HIV victims and those with disabilities.

“We’ve seen 50 cases of disabilities to date, 30% of whom have had their lives transformed in one way or another by the medical centre staff and facilities. The rest are still undergoing treatment or are awaiting surgery. It is anticipated that with the additional services in the lab and clinics we can double the number of disability and HIV/AIDS cases we help with.”

Andrew Cowan, MAG’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “It’s fantastic to see the progress that Medcare are making with our support. Our staff have important skills in project management, supply chain and construction that we can utilise in Uganda and the new facilities really make such a massive difference to so many people. We will continue to fundraise and raise awareness of Medcare as a charity to ensure the wonderful work they do can continue.”

In July this year, a small group of MAG staff accompanied Dr Hutchinson to Uganda to see the progress of the medical centre work and meet some of the families whose lives it has already changed.

Catherine Hilton is a MAG Medcare committee member who works in Supply Chain Management at the airport and attended the latest visit to Uganda. She said: “We met some of the children who are benefitting from Medcare sponsorship which was an experience which can only be described as overwhelming and inspirational.

“We saw first-hand the poverty and hardship which many of the Ugandan people experience throughout their lives; nothing can prepare you for the levels of poverty and disease we encountered throughout our stay.

“Seeing some of these families, their conditions and knowing that for some it’s just too late is unbelievably hard to take when you see it first-hand which is why we’re working so hard to make the improvements to this much-needed medical facility so we can make a real difference to these people’s lives.”

Manchester Airport is continually fundraising for Medcare and this month held the annual Medcare ball, this year in association with Carillion, and raised over 60,000. The recent 75th anniversary Choir Concert raised over 3,000 for Medcare and anyone who themselves would like to help can either make a one off donation or sponsor a Ugandan child. For more information please visit: www.medcare.org.uk

ENDS

For further information please contact the Manchester Airport press office on 0161 489 2700 or via email at press.office@manairport.co.uk

Notes:

Several photographs from recent trips to Uganda are available on request.

Interview opportunities are available on request with Medcare Chairwoman Dr Pauline Hutchinson, as well as MAG staff members Brendan Biggar and Catherine Hilton who both went out on recent Uganda trips.

Published on: 18/10/2013 13:23:44