War, famine and multiple infectious diseases have devastated the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in central Africa.
Their plight, in a country where the ill and injured are transferred to hospital on bicycles, has led Epworth HealthCare to make a significant donation.
Victorian organisation, Future Voices and Shepparton Nelson Mandela Learning Centre Project, contacted Epworth Medical Foundation for support.
Future Voices Executive Officer, Rashidi Sumaili, says a measles epidemic in 2019 caused more than 5,300 deaths, 31,000 cases of cholera and last year, an Ebola outbreak in the country caused more devastation. That was followed by rising cases of COVID-19, leaving millions with unmet vital health needs and one in five children requiring humanitarian assistance.
Ongoing civil conflict and a lack of infrastructure makes it difficult, for those in need, to access essential medical care available in cities and there is widespread scarcity of medical equipment.
Epworth collected two truckloads (14 pallets) of PPE consumables, including 24,000 N95 masks, 250,000 level 3 tie-back surgical masks and coveralls of assorted sizes.
Cameron Fuller, Executive Director Finance and Business Services, said Epworth was happy to make this donation.
“We know PPE is an essential requirement to in keep people safe from infectious diseases, so we are happy to help a country that has had to deal with so much. Epworth prides itself on helping others and we hope this will make a real difference to the people of DR Congo.”
Two Epworth staff members from Supply and Logistics volunteered to drive to Shepparton to deliver the goods in their own time.
Melinda Tippett, Group Director – Procurement & Supply praised Scott Kerr and Nate Barbatiello for their efforts.
“Scott and Nate organised this by themselves, using items we had set aside for donation. They deserve to be recognised for going above and beyond.”
Mr Sumaili thanked everyone at Epworth for this support and generosity.
“Nelson Mandela said that there is a word in South Africa - Ubuntu- that defines the greatest of humanity. it reminds us that we are all bound together in ways that can be invisible to our eyes,” he said.
“We sincerely thank you.”