Picture: Peter Devlin

The people of Glasgow and beyond, through their generosity, have helped to fill a large shipping container with medical supplies to be shipped to Ethiopians in urgent need of help.

Donations of medical items such as crutches, bandages and baby delivery kits as well as new shoes and toys have been collected by the Ethiopia Medical Project (EMP) to support people with devastating but easily treatable medical conditions such as elephantiasis and uterine prolapse.

The lifesaving delivery is being made possible thanks to a partnership between EMP and two respected businesses; Clyde based marine engineering experts the Malin Group and international logistics company, Bertling Logistics. Both businesses have volunteered the resources needed to send the supplies many miles across land and sea to the gates of the Health Centre in Buccama.

The Malin Group will carry out the heavy lift operations involved in getting the container on and off the water, with Bertling safely and securely managing the rest of the journey. Rapid Export and Clyde Corrosion have also provided invaluable support through the wrapping and packing of the resources, and painting of the container, respectively.

Picture: Peter Devlin

Co-founder of EMP Maureen Burnett MBE said:

“This delivery is going to have a massive impact and we are grateful to everyone in Glasgow and across Scotland for their time, energy and donations.

“We set up the charity Ethiopia Medical Project in 2013 after visiting a tiny clinic in rural Ethiopia. My cousin and fellow EMP Co-Founder Jo Middlemiss and I had a short volunteering trip to Buccama, but we were compelled to make a real difference for the long term when we saw the conditions.

“The clinic was struggling to cope without enough funding for medical resources and was inundated with women suffering from uterine prolapse and people disabled by a type of elephantiasis called podoconiosis. It is estimated that half of the world’s population of people who suffer from Podoconiosis are in Ethiopia, approximately three million. Both conditions carry a social stigma, with sufferers reporting being ostracised from their families and communities. Yet both can be treated and, in many cases, reversed with simple treatments. In the last decade, donations from EMP have allowed the medical team at the clinic to treat thousands of patients, allowing them to return to their families and live free from pain and suffering. We are so pleased to be able to continue our efforts thanks to the kindness of the teams at Malin and Bertling.

“Life is particularly tough in Ethiopia just now. They are dealing with the pandemic, an ongoing civil war, plagues of locusts devastating their crops and increasing numbers of attacks by hyenas on children. Like so many other charities, the pandemic affected our fundraising activities, but we have had a little miracle and I think that this exceptional sign of kindness from both organisations demonstrates the impact of what can happen when people come together!”

John Macsween, Managing Director of the Malin Group, said:

“When we were approached by the team at EMP, we knew that we had to help. We are delighted to provide expertise in the transportation of the cargo, and I am proud of our staff for coming forward to support this fantastic charity. It is also a great opportunity to work with one of our trusted clients, Bertling Logistics and build on our existing partnership – and demonstrate how the maritime industry can come together to have a positive impact. And we are so proud of our fellow Glaswegians who helped to fill it!”

Andy Lyall, Commercial Manager of Bertling Logistics in Aberdeen, stated:

“When our partner, Malin Group, informed us about Ethiopia Medical Project and the opportunity to help, we did not wait a minute and immediately started to look for available containers and shipping options to transport the donations without delay to Ethiopia. Everything is prepared for the shipment, and we are pleased to contribute to this important subject.

The shipping container is leaving Glasgow this week, filled with the medical equipment the men, women and children of Buccama desperately need as well as a few items which will bring a little joy and respite to some of the people suffering most in these incredibly difficult times. 

More details on how to support the EMP may be found at www.ethiopiamedicalproject.com