Local charity sending medical aid 10,000 miles away

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A second massive overseas mission is about to be launched by a local non-profit. American Medical Overseas Relief, AMOR, is based here in the Valley. (KFSN)

A second massive overseas mission is about to be launched by a local non-profit. American Medical Overseas Relief, AMOR, is based here in the Valley. Most of its employees work at a hospital in Afghanistan it helped found. Soon AMOR will have more people working in Malawi, Africa where they will give basic life-saving care.

By many measures Malawi is worlds away from the Central Valley. But Fresno-based charity AMOR is heading there to help provide essential life-saving medical care and education.

"They don't have good roads," said AMOR Executive Director Davena Witcher. "They don't have transportation. They don't have money to buy fuel with. So what we do is take the healthcare out into the rural community."

In March Witcher is making the more than 30-hour trip to Malawi to plan for the group's mission work. "That'll be part of my visit is to go and introduce myself to these communities, let them know what AMOR is about, meet the tribal leaders in these areas, so we can establish these relationships," she said.

They will take physicians, nurses, educational aids along with medicine, machines and other tools to provide pre- and post-natal care in the impoverished region. AMOR is working with a hospital, but will take all of that support out to the tiny towns. In Malawi AMOR says the mortality rate for kids 5 and under is 68 in 1,000. In the United States that rate is seven in 1,000.

About 6 years ago AMOR started working in Afghanistan to treat much of the same problems. Witcher, an RN who spent time working at Valley Children's Hospital, also spent a lot of time developing the Afghanistan project.

"To have the opportunity to take that knowledge into other countries, and to teach them and to nurture them so that they're now providing a level of care that they've never even seen before, it's amazing," she said. "I'm the luckiest person in the world to have this opportunity."

This new project will cost about $200,000 to launch. AMOR estimates monthly operating expenses to be somewhere around $25,000. That's not much when you consider the hope is to treat 2,000 to 3,000 patients each month.

American Medical Overseas Relief: http://www.amorelief.org



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