Sharing a cuppa raises vital cash

Dr Kendra Murray (by cake stand with flowery skirt) with Bearsden mums and babies raising money for The Scotland and Malawi Anaesthesia Project.

Dr Kendra Murray (by cake stand with flowery skirt) with Bearsden mums and babies raising money for The Scotland and Malawi Anaesthesia Project.

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CARING Bearsden mums raised £700 recently for a charity which helps pregnant women and their babies in Africa.

Dr Kendra Murray organised the coffee morning to raise cash for The Scotland and Malawi Anaesthesia Project, which was set up by her sister-in-law Dr Catriona Connolly, who works at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

More than 40 mothers went along to the event to help reduce the number of deaths of mothers and children in Malawi – where it is estimated that women have a one in 36 chance of dying during pregnancy or childbirth there (compared to a one in 9,000 chance in the UK) and children have a one in 10 chance of dying before their first birthday (compared to one in 200 chance in the UK).

A survey was carried out among the mothers at the coffee morning to see if they needed some form of medical intervention such as a c-section or epidural during childbirth. Nearly half of them had needed help and if they had given birth in Malawi they or their baby may not have survived.

Dr Murray (42), a mother of three, said: “We are so lucky to have access to top class medical care in Scotland.

“Like many of my friends I had an emergency procedure when my first child was born. It is frightening to think that it’s only due to the fact that we live in Scotland that we are still here today - if we lived in Malawi it may have been a totally different tale.

“Through my sister-in-law’s efforts I believe the work of The Scotland-Malawi Anaesthesia Project is trying to make a real difference in lives of mothers, children and families in a country which has the third highest maternal mortality rate in the world.”

It is estimated that about 80 per cent of maternal deaths in Malawi could be avoided by access to basic maternity and health-care services.

In 2006, four senior doctors from Scotland travelled to Malawi to deliver the first refresher course to 16 anaesthetic clinical officers (ACOs). Since then, The Scotland and Malawi Anaesthesia Project has provided at least one educational refresher course for all 92 Malawian ACOs to help them deal more effectively with obstetric emergencies and ultimately save mothers’ lives.

The charity also has organised courses to help improve child mortality rates in the country and is now providing ‘Train the Trainer’ courses to provide more sustainability for the project.

For more information about the project visit www.smap.org.uk. Just £15 can fund a Malawi clinical officer to attend a one day course, which could save the lives of dozens of women and children.