Newsletter - November 2011
Over the next few issues, we will give you updates on the patients whose lives you helped change in March 2011 through your support and generosity.
In this issue, we will tell you a bit about Bernadette Sakala.
A 35yr old mother and housewife, Bernadette discovered she had a serious problem when she was in labour two years ago (giving birth to the young girl shown in the photo). She was found to be in heart failure and subsequent investigations revealed that her mitral valve (one of her heart valves) was calcified, thickened and therefore not properly opening or closing. All this was as a result of Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD). She needed an operation.
Like many other underprivileged Zambians with this condition, she knew she had very little hope of getting the much needed operation. How else was she to afford at least USD 30,000 for such an operation abroad?! So when she was offered the operation free of charge by the Mutima Project, she became an inspiration to all the other patients, by accepting the offer with no hesitation and therefore becoming the first to be operated on.
Her operation like the subsequent six, was a success. She was out of intensive care after only a half a day following the procedure and was up on her feet and pacing around the ward within days.
Just before she was discharged, she reflected on her life before surgery. "Feeling sick all the time", "Failing to walk a long distance", Feeling short of breath" (see the video here). Simple house chores such as washing, house cleaning and cooking were very difficult.
Today, she can cope with all these chores and do more effortlessly. She feels energetic, revived & healthy. She even plans to start her own small business.
Her quality of life has tremendously improved after surgery and she is grateful for it.
Mutima take on Taupo
Another cycling challenge and this year it will be the Lake Taupo cycle challenge on the 26th November.
Last year, John Edlin, Suzanne Johnson, Kirstin Walsh and Amy Becker (pictured) took on the five passes tour and collectively raised $5600 for the Mutima Project. Since then, the Mutima Project has been to Zambia and performed seven life saving heart operations at a cost of around NZ$5000 each.
In two weeks time, Kirstin, Amy and Munanga Mwandila will each compete in the 160km road cycling 'Solo' challenge, whilst Madeleine Van Dyk will take on the 80km mountain bike 'Contact Huka' challenge.
With your help and generosity, the team is aiming to raise money for one operation (NZ$5,000) for next year's mission to Zambia.
On the day, you will be able to track the team in realtime online and see what progress they are making in the event.
More details including how you can sponsor the team can be found on the team's fundraiseonline page.
Auckland voulunteers for the Mutima Project
The volunteers based in Auckland have been getting together to see how they can help to fundraise for the project.
Recently Richard Mwaijumba shared his experience about the mission to Zambia with Auckland's Western Leader. You can read the story here.
A new website
As you may have notice, we have redesigned our website to give it a new look, a new area for photos and documents of relevance to all those involved with the project. But more improtantly, it will allow for a whole lot more to happen for the clinical and administrative teams.
Through the website, Zambian cardiologists can securely refer the patients that need surgery as soon as they are seen, making it easier for us to work together to work up the patients well in advance. For patients that have been operated on, specific medication (such as warfarin and INR levels) can be closely monitored with the NZ team giving realtime feedback to the Zambian clinicians on recommended dosages, e.t.c.
Some of the other features include the ability for one to register easily for upcoming events and for volunteers to register their availabiility for up coming missions.
Take a look for yourself!
Mission to Zambia 2012
The next mission to Zambia is set for the 26th April to 13th May 2012.
Working closely with the Cardiac Trust of Zambia and the Ministry of Health in Zambia, we are aiming to perform between 15 - 20 heart operations at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka.
We will also have Zambian medical personnel who have a keen interest in cardiac surgery, shadowing individual team members as part of an ongoing process of capacity building.
We will be able to share more details in the coming weeks.
Walk to Zambia
Come and join us again on the Sunday 25th March 2012 for a 6km sponsored walk around North Hagley Park.
As you may recall, this year's walk was cancelled due to the earthquake in February. Despite this, you continued to give and to support us. This went a long way in ensuring the success of the first mission to Zambia.
So let's walk together and make the next mission equally a success. Online registration through the website will be available closer to the time.