Amref Case Study
Somak Holidays and Amref Health Africa’s partnership – supporting women broken by child birth
‘It felt like I was born a second time… if it hasn’t been for Amref I would be dead. I could not bear the stigma any more. I had reached the point where I could not go on.’ Caroline Nginga, Kenya
Caroline Ngina was just 12 years old when she became pregnant. She was in labour for three days. At such a young age, her tiny frame was simply not ready for giving birth. Sadly, with no medical support on hand, her baby did not survive. Caroline, just a child herself, was left injured suffering from the effects of Obstetric Fistula and grieving for her lost baby. She was ostracised by her community and left to fend for herself.
‘I just wanted to die. No one wanted to see me. If I went anywhere I had to carry a heavy bag of rags on my head and change them every hour to soak up the leaking. I suffered regularly from infections and sores. Just walking was painful’. Caroline Nginga, Kenya
Obstetric Fistula is a condition almost unheard of in the West. Yet nearly two million women across Africa suffer from the double incontinence that not only has debilitating physical effects but that also carries with it the burden of stigma and social isolation. Girls like Caroline are too often rejected by their husbands and shunned in their village because of their foul smell and inability to bear children.
Amref Flying Doctors offers reconstructive surgery to women and girls who are affected by Obstretric Fistula. It is a key part in Amref Health Africa’s Clinical Outreach programme and provides transport to take essential medical and surgical services to some of the continents most remote villages.
These remote places are often populated with the most vulnerable and in need people. Few can afford specialised medical treatment and access to healthcare is limited; there are few surgeons, trained midwives or and medical laboratory services.
‘Flying doctors’ has been at the heart of Amref Health Africa as an organisation since its beginning over 50 years ago. Today, the programme helps serve 156 hospitals in nine countries, including Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and South Sudan. It is a service that is truly helping to ensure that even those who are most vulnerable are given the chance and means to transform their health and break the cycle of poverty.
Each outreach visit brings life-changing surgery to people like Caroline, who is one of 1,700 women supported in 2014 by the Clinical Outreach team. Thanks to the support of Amref Health Africa and the partnership with Somak Holidays, Caroline’s fistula was repaired and she is now a proud mother of two.
Amref Flying Doctors – Charity evacuations
Donations through the Somak Holidays and Amref Health Africa partnership also help support the Amref Flying Doctors’ Charity Evacuation scheme. A hospital in a remote location will receive a patient with a life-threatening condition which they are not equipped to handle. With both the patient and hospital being unable to afford the cost of an evacuation to a better-equipped medical facility, Amref Flying Doctors is often called to assist. Under the Charity Evacuation scheme, patients are transported free of charge from the most remote locations, flying them to medical facilities where their lives can be saved.
How you can help
We at Somak Holiday are delighted and proud to partner with such an inspiring organisation, and continue to support their work through the sale of Maisha travel insurance. We are pleased to announce that everyone who books a package to Tanzania and Kenya will receive Amref Flying Doctors ‘Maisha’ Ambulance Cover courtesy of Somak Holidays. For each traveller to East Africa, Somak makes a donation to Amref.
If you would like to help Amref Health Africa bring health change to Africa and break the cycle of poverty by donating or to find out more about their work please visit their website at
www.amrefuk.org or call the office at 020 7269 5520.