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05 March 2012
The 33-mile walk Zambian mothers’ have to endure to access basic medical services will be replicated in a fundraising bid to improve standards of maternal and child health in Africa.
The trek along the Taff trail is the brainchild of leading University healthcare campaigner Professor Judith Hall, School of Medicine, who set-up the charity Mothers of Africa to raise funds to alleviate the hardship of mothers in Africa.
Professor Hall has recruited Cardiff and the Vale Health Board (UHB) Chair, David Francis to lead the fund-raising trek.
David will spend March 28th covering a 33-mile stretch of the Taff Trail from north of Merthyr to the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, the same distance that many Zambian women have to walk to health centres where they can have their babies.
First Minister Carwyn Jones will welcome David when he arrives at the Senedd for a reception to showcase the Mothers of Africa Go Zambia initiative.
Professor Hall said: "David’s 33 miles, 33 people walk has really captured the imagination. I’m delighted that David is so committed to helping Mothers of Africa - he really understands what we are trying to achieve and why.
"We want to be able to build these solar powered classrooms in the Chongwe province of Zambia, but they cost £4,000 each, so every penny counts.
"They will be kitted out with ruggarised computers and used to educate everybody involved in the care of sick mums, including the mothers themselves, volunteers, nurses, midwives and doctors. The classrooms will also be used for school children, teaching them about health science.
"The classrooms will really make a difference to the lives of so many people so I’m very excited about the whole prospect," she said.
Having undertaken a similar venture in 2010, when he walked a 26-mile route round health board sites, David’s challenge this year is slightly different in that it’s hoped another 32 walkers will join him en route.
Go Zambia is a new project developed by Professor Hall which will share expert knowledge with the Chongwe District of Zambia, helping to reduce maternal and child mortality, promote environmental sustainability and achieve universal primary education.
Professor Hall is currently leading a small Cardiff team to Zambia to conduct a needs assessment to help identify the main areas where Cardiff’s expert knowledge can help.
David Francis said: "Our aim is to get 33 people doing the 33 miles to raise money for the Mothers of Africa Go Zambia work.
"We’ve already had tremendous support from colleagues at the UHB, Aneurin Bevan Health Board and Cardiff and Cardiff Metropolitan universities. Welsh Women Walking and Cardiff Ramblers are also going to be joining in.
"It’s going to be a tough day but I hope it will make us all think about the hardship some mums have to go through just to get basic healthcare. And at least the route will be downhill!"
To support the Trek, visit: www.justgiving.com/davidfrancis30
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