Out of North Devon into Africa

Joseph Bulmer

LIFESAVING medical equipment made in Bratton Fleming and made available by Bideford Rotarians is bringing aid to people in the Sudan and more is destined for Rwanda.

More than two years ago Bideford Bridge Rotary Club launched its Breath of Life project to provide appropriate anaesthesia equipment to developing countries, significantly reducing deaths to mothers and children during birth and other life saving surgical cases.

The club had identified that 70% of equipment provided to developing countries fails to work on arrival or breaks down shortly afterwards, ending up in a cupboard or propping doors open due to not being fit for purpose.

Rotarian David Avery discovered that a local company, Diamedica of Bratton Fleming, produced the Glostavent anaesthetic machine that was custom built for such challenging environments and saw the opportunity to raise funds and purchase it through the Rotary movement.

Club donations and funds contributed by other national and international Rotary clubs has now enabled Bideford Bridge Club to access matching Rotary Foundation grants to provide the anaesthetic equipment for Juba Teaching Hospital in The Sudan, where girls are more likely to die in child birth than finish secondary education .

The project has achieved great interest, already featured on television and now a film is to be made that features the second Glostavent equipment funded by Rotary.

This will shortly be shipped to Ruli District Hospital in Rwanda, where its arrival will be overseen by another Bideford helper, Deri Rundle, who has been working on her own humanitarian projects in the area for many years.

David Avery is now working with fellow Rotary club members to make approaches for further funding for the project from the Government’s Department for International Development.