HelpMercy International works in the Sierra Leone and in the Man'Gunza and Macha Region of Southern Province of Zambia
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Freetown is the capital of Sierra Leone. Despite several decades of hardship including civil war, ebola, and landslides, Sierra Leone is a country with great promise. Freetown, the capital sits on a peninsula and is ringed by mountains and the sea. About 100,000 in Sierra Leone are blind and more have low vision. Major causes include cataract, river blindness, and corneal scars. Most of these are treatable and/or preventable. Recently several new eye surgeons have been trained who have returned to Sierra Leone, which now sits poised to become a center of excellence and training in eye surgery for West Africa.
The Macha Mission Hospital
Macha Hospital was originally started as a Mission Hospital by the Brethren in Christ Church in 1906. It is located on a high arid savannah in south-central Africa. It has grown substantially over the century and now contains 208 beds plus numerous outpatient services serving approximately 140,000 people scattered across a large rural area of southern Zambia. Its patients are overwhelmingly poor with little or no income, living as subsistent farmers in small groups dependent entirely on the fertility of the soil and whims of the weather. Consequently, it is impossible to charge enough for hospital services to sustain the expenses of running the complex. Malaria is a large problem during the wet season. AIDS is a growing and major concern, but with Macha being certified as an Antiretroviral Clinic there is evidence that people now see hope and are more willing to confront the disease.
The Macha / Man'Gunza Region
Macha, Zambia is in Southern Province and its region contains about 135,000 rural people. The closest town of significant size is Choma. Many people in the region are quite poor subsistence farmers. The average earnings in Macha are about $1 / day. HIV is common at about 10-12% and is treated at Macha Mission Hospital in an HIV Program that HelpMercy International assisted in founding.
Zambia is a land of incredible beauty and sometimes hardship. Established as a portion of the British Colony Rhodesia, Zambia is now independent. Zambia was ranked as one of the world's fastest economically reformed countries. Also, HIV incidence in Zambia has declined by 25% from 2001 to 2010. Despite these very encouraging statistics, Zambia still has dire needs. About 68% of Zambian live below poverty line, 78% in rural areas. HIV still affects 13.5% of the population and continues cause suffering and decreased life expectancy.