2013/14 Recipient - Matangwe Health Centre

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The recipient of RADAR$139 funds in the Rotary year 2013/14 is the Matangwe Community Health and Development Program. This vital community clinic will also be the recipient of funds from the 2014 Rotary Trump AIDS Poker Walk to be held in Toronto on Saturday, April 26, 2014.

Here is a report from Rotarian Dr. Ruth Mathieson about her most recent visit to Matangwe.

This was my seventh visit to Matangwe, a remote village situated to the West of Kenya, 20 km from Lake Victoria. I go to relieve the clinical officer for 3 to 4 weeks so he can take a much deserved holiday. The Matangwe Community Health and Development Program comprises a clinic a small hospital, a school, a community centre, and a morgue.There are 17 villages that go to make up Matangwe, in a radius of 20 km, serving 14,000 people.

The HIV rate is high at 29.4% , due in part to poverty and unemployment. The sad thing is that more and more people are testing positive for HIV, but the good thing is that most of them are doing well on anti-retroviral drugs. It has now become a chronic disease. Of the 1,000 clients we have enrolled in the clinic, 800 are living well; the other 200, not so well. They stop taking their medication, they fail to use condoms so get reinfected, they cease to come regularly to the clinic to be checked etc. The Rotary Club of Belleville always gives me $2,000 each year to spend on medical equipment and medications.

The school was built originally to hold 100 students. Now it holds 500 students of which 97 are orphans. It provides education from Kindergarten to Grade 8. All the children are given  a school uniform and a hot meal at lunchtime, often their only meal of the day. Over the last two years, 6 of the classrooms have been renovated with a Global Grant spearheaded by the Rotary Club of Belleville, with the support of other clubs and RADAR 139, for which we are so grateful.Thank you so very much.

The renovated classrooms are being used, though not quite finished.They need painting, a railing needs to be added and with bigger hinges on the doors, so they open further.

In the community centre, there is a nursery  for 2 and 3 year olds. Women sew the  school uniforms on old tredle machines. They also make trivets from rug hooking and also make bags, the latter two are sold in Canada. The men do  the woodworking, building coffins and then welding them.There are at least 2 to 3 funerals held in a room beside the morgue each Friday. 

Last year, I initiated solar cooking as firewood is so scarce due to  droughts. It  takes a Granny the best part of the day to find enough firewood to cook the evening meal. Father Martin at the clinic has taken this project into the community and has now visited most of the 17 villages to show the elders how to make them.This year, I introduced stuffed covers to line a basket and a cover for the top of the basket to keep the food warm after it had been cooked. The main cooking times are between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. when the sun is at it’s hottest.The villagers are thrilled with their solar cookers.


The next phase is to provide every student with a desk. And the third part is to buy seeds and grow maize etc.

Again, my thanks to Rotary. 
Ruth Mathieson