A proposed supply line will go directly from a new generating plant to patients’ bedsides and the operating theatre at the hospital in rural community, Chitambo.
The Scottish government funded the oxygen generating plant for Chitambo hospital, which is currently en-route from Germany.
A steady supply of oxygen is needed more than ever during the current Covid pandemic, which has resulted in lives being lost and exacerbating the difficult lives of the people from this mainly farming community, where David Livingston died and the Scottish connections are strong.
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Mr Francis Zombe, a nurse at the hospital, and a trustee of the charity, said: ”At present we don’t have any running oxygen at our hospital so we have to bring it from over 400 kilometres away.
"On our poor roads, that can mean a 10-hour return journey, so it can result in losing a patient before the oxygen gets here. The government has been trying to distribute oxygen cylinders, but they don’t have enough, and it’s not sustainable.”
Friends of Chitambo are Crowdfunding by using social media to spread awareness of this essential service.
One of the Zambian-based trustees, Karen Edwards, added: “We managed to raise the first £1,000 from a sponsored cycling event on my husband’s family farm and we were delighted with our success, especially as it was the first event we’ve held here.
"However, we need to raise much more to ensure that the community in Chitambo gets this vital supply of oxygen as soon as possible to fight Covid-19 and other serious conditions both now and in future.”
Jo Vallis the founder and chairperson of the organisation, who was born in Chitambo but now lives in Penicuik said: “I can’t believe the progress we’ve made so far with our Crowdfunding appeal.
"The generosity shown towards Chitambo has come from all around the world, from places as far away as New Zealand and Nepal and we are really excited that we are doing so well so far.”
The appeal has got off to a great start and the charity has already raised just over half of the £7,000 they need. Go to: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/breathe-life-into-chitambo.