First Christian Provides Medical Supplies to Malawi
by Rick Tipton
As a member of First Christian Church, Carolyn Embry submitted a grant request on behalf of SOS (formerly Supplies Over Seas). SOS is a Louisville-based non-profit charity -- a 501(c)(3) organization that is in its 27th year of operation focused on saving lives. The charity’s mission is to improve global health and the environment through redistribution of surplus medical supplies recovered from regional hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices. In addition to local distribution of medical items, shipments of supplies are targeted for underserved people living in medically impoverished communities throughout the world through delivery to health clinics, hospitals, and other institutions where there is a severe shortage of such supplies. SOS matches surplus supplies with need, connecting communities and delivering a world of health and hope. SOS is one of only six accredited Medical Surplus Recovery Organizations (MRSOS) in the U.S.
Funds received from First Christian Church will be earmarked for a large shipment of medical supplies and equipment that will be sent from SOS to Malawi in eastern Africa. It will be funneled through Kasupe Ministries Malawi, a rural-community-based non-governmental organization focused on caring for orphans and vulnerable children. Each year Kasupe Ministries provides food, medical care, and education to thousands of youths. The organization also assists widows with children and the elderly.
Malawi is a country with a population of about 20 million people and is one of the poorest in the world. Fifty-one and a half percent (51.5%) of the total population lived in poverty in 2016, and life expectancy at birth was 63.7 years, according to the 2018 Population and Housing Census. Recently, poverty levels in Malawi have increased even more due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, vaccines are expected to reach a significant portion of the population only in mid-2022, and the primitive health-care system has become even more stressed. In Malawi, many healthcare providers lack the necessary medical equipment and supplies to provide adequate services. The situation is worse in the rural areas where over 80% of the population resides. The upcoming shipping container will reduce this shortage by providing supplies and equipment to some of these underfunded healthcare facilities. Included will be an anesthesia machine, hospital beds, wheelchairs, general surgery supplies, and more. These supplies have the potential to turn the tide against illness and disease in Malawi’s rural areas. The container will enable Kasupe Ministries and other healthcare providers (7 different hospitals and clinics), who are in desperate need of essential—but often costly—medical equipment to deliver quality care to those already suffering. Additionally, in the longer run, the upcoming container will help build more resilient rural health systems in Malawi.
Volunteer assistance: Although this particular project is not local, volunteers are key to the collection and sorting of supplies, in addition to lending crucial administrative support. SOS relies on volunteer assistance every week to assist with the sorting and boxing of supplies donated to the charity. SOS welcomes volunteers who are seeking a regular weekly shift (Mon.-Thurs.) as well as “Thursday afternoon” volunteers, who participate on a drop-in basis. Individual and group volunteers are also needed for the regular Saturday Sort Sessions that take place every second and fourth Saturday of the month from 9am to noon.
The wholeness grant used to fund this ministry was made possible through your faithful financial support of our church and its ministries and help fund a variety of efforts to make our world a better place.
You can find more examples of those efforts or apply for a grant to make the world a better place by clicking here.