Kinross woman leads efforts to send vital supplies to Africa

An international medical charity co-founded by a Kinross grandmother is preparing to send a large shipping container with vital supplies to one of Africa’s poorest countries.

Jo Middlemiss MBE helped oversee the donation of medical items as well as crutches, bandages, delivery kits, new shoes and toys to Ethiopia Medical Project (EMP) to help people with devastating illnesses but easily treatable, such as a type of elephantiasis and uterine prolapse.

Life-saving delivery is made possible through a partnership between EMP and Clyde-based marine engineering experts, the Malin Group and international logistics company Bertling Logistics.

The two companies offered the resources to send the supplies many miles across land and sea to the gates of the Buccama health center.

EMP co-founder and cousin of Jo, Maureen Burnett MBE said: “This delivery is going to have a huge impact and we are grateful to everyone across Scotland for their time, energy and donations.

“We created the Ethiopia Medical Project charity in 2013 after visiting a small clinic in the Ethiopian countryside.

“My cousin and EMP co-founder Jo Middlemiss and I took a short volunteering trip to Buccama, but we were forced to make a real difference in the long run when we saw the conditions.

“The clinic was struggling to cope without sufficient funding for medical resources and was inundated with women with uterine prolapse and people disabled by a type of elephantiasis called podoconiosis.

“It is estimated that half of the world’s population of people with podoconiosis is in Ethiopia, or around three million.

“Both conditions carry social stigma, with those affected reporting being ostracized by their families and communities.

“Yet both can be treated and, in many cases, reversed with simple treatments.

“Over the past decade, EMP donations have enabled the clinic’s medical team to treat thousands of patients, allowing them to return to their families and live free from pain and suffering.

“We are very happy to be able to continue our efforts thanks to the kindness of the Malin and Bertling teams.

“Life is particularly hard in Ethiopia right now.

“They are facing the pandemic, an ongoing civil war, locust invasions devastating their crops and an increasing number of hyenas attacks on children.

“Like so many other charities, the pandemic has affected our fundraising activities, but we’ve had a small miracle and I think this exceptional sign of kindness from both organizations demonstrates the impact of what can happen when people come together. “

The shipping container is scheduled to leave Glasgow on October 31.

More details on how to support the EMP can be found at www.ethiopiamedicalproject.com

About Julie Gray

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