Lord Jay, Merlin chair, visited Merlin projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He writes inspiringly about what he saw there.
In Britain we are used to seeing children dressed up for parties. But in Lubutu, deep in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the sight of
a young girl in a bright pink dress caught me by surprise. She was wearing shoes (barefoot was more usual) and she was also wearing the most enormous smile. Merlin’s medical staff were about to give her a gift far exceeding any party bag – an injection to protect her against measles (still a potentially fatal disease).
Her outfit and her obvious delight were just one example of the touching gratitude I have witnessed for the care and treatment provided by Merlin.
Our focus on health and our determined help for those in need have won us the respect of people around the world.
We teach the importance of sanitation, the benefits of breastfeeding and the need for people, especially pregnant women, to seek help from trained health care workers. Merlin’s midwife training is at the heart of our work. There are some brilliant midwives, like Colette from Nimule in South Sudan. She lost her own baby at birth but was spurred on to help prevent the same thing happening to other women. Merlin trained her up and, as the matron of Elia health centre, she sees at least twenty pregnant women each week.
It is a humbling experience to see the faith that people put in us. But with the encouragement of our many supporters, more little girls like the one in Lubutu and more young women like those in Nimule, will get the help they so badly need.