A Great Initiative

Looking back on last year, it really seems like Lifebox was set up and three minutes later Laura Peltola called the office and said that she and her boyfriend, Andrew Moulds, wanted to do a fundraising campaign to buy oximeters for the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi.

It was very exciting.  The Peltola/Moulds initiative, (“another one just came in!”) was one of the first individual fundraising efforts for Lifebox, and it was so successful that we ended up sending not one, but two large shipments to Blantyre.

After the second shipment, Laura wrote to tell us about how the initiative got started, and about her time working at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital.

When speaking to one of my consultants in England last June about my preparations for a year volunteering as an anaesthetist in Malawi, he mentioned Lifebox. When researching this charity, I found it to be a highly worthy cause and relevant to the work I would be doing in Malawi. My boyfriend and I were keen to try to contribute something sustainable to the community, and so we undertook fundraising prior to our departure. Through generous donations from friends and family, we managed to raise enough funds for 14 pulse oximeters, all with adult and paediatric probes and spare rechargeable batteries, as well as 9 additional probes.

Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, is the largest and busiest hospital in Malawi with 1,100 beds and approximately 1,300 inpatients. The hospital provides care for roughly 500,000 in- and out-patients every year. It has ten operating theatres with a mixed standard of monitoring and a 4-bedded ITU. The pulse oximeters were gratefully received. One of the local Anaesthetic Clinical Officers even commented that, “you are giving the gift of life!”

With these pulse oximeters we have been able to ensure that every theatre has a working pulse oximeter and that a spare is always available. Additionally, the pulse oximeters have helped improved the safety of patients in obstetric recovery, where patients were previously completely unmonitored. Furthermore, as a portable monitor they have provided the means to monitor critically ill patients during transfer and also assess the oxygen saturations of patients prior to surgery. It has been fantastic to see the impact on patient safety the pulse oximeters have had!”

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