Charity boost for Christian flying doctors lifeline
By Keith Morris
2009: Two ex-Norwich medics who launched a flying doctors charity, Mercy Flyers based in Zambia,
have made some important steps forward with the vital life-saving work.
Craig and Rae Oranmore-Brown (pictured below), gave up their medical jobs in Norfolk to fly out to Zambia to set-up the charity.
Now they have registered as an independent charity, received new equipment including a portable anaesthetic machine and produced a new-look website.
Craig was a consultant in Emergency Medicine in the Emergency Assessment unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University hospital. He also worked as a consultant in Anaesthesia and Critical Care at the James Paget hospital in Gorleston and is a qualified pilot. Rae was a junior doctor at the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds and trained at the Norfolk & Norwich.
The charity now uses aircraft to fly specialist doctors, including some from East Anglian hospitals, to rural hospitals around Zambia where they have the facilities to perform vital operations but no qualified staff to undertake them. Poor roads and large distances mean that a light aircraft is the only way to reach many ill people.
Craig said: “Twelve years ago we were working in mission hospitals in South Africa and became acutely aware of the vast need for doctors to be involved in helping rural hospitals. Further research trips undertaken in southern Africa revealed three areas: the need for specialist input for complicated medical conditions, continuing medical education and support for doctors and provision of appropriate medical equipment.”
Now, thanks to the efforts of supporters back in Norfolk, Mercy Flyers has been registered as an independent charity in the UK with a new number, 1131474.
Craig said: “This will make it easier to raise grant funding and allow us to manage donor funds and get Gift Aid returns ourselves as all funds will go directly to our UK office.”
“£5 will pay for a short anaesthetic for a child, £10 pays for us to straighten a broken limb and put it in plaster, £20 pays for a simple lifesaving operation and £50 pays for reconstructive surgery,” said Craig.
The charity has recently received a gift of a portable anaesthetic machine from the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists, which fits in a suitcase. “This will help us provide safe and effective anaesthesia to all our patients, irrespective of the facilities at the hospitals we visit,” said Craig.
After a year of graphic design and production work, the charity also has a new website where you can find out more about what it does and how to support it.
Craig and Rae, who attended Norwich Vineyard church while in Norfolk, say that their Christian faith is a large part of what has inspired them to establish the charity.
“I believe that God gave us a mandate in life and it is our duty to commit our lives to achieve it, or die trying,” said Craig. “I feel that if I can’t change the world in which I live for the better, what is the point in me being here?”
For more details, or to donate, contact Sylvia Hemmings
or on 01508 536801.