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Australians urged to give gift of health


Catholic Mission has launched its annual Christmas Appeal, focusing on the urgent need for effective medical care for babies and young children in Malawi where easily treatable illnesses such as malaria and malnutrition are rampant.

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More than half the population of Malawi live below the poverty line and struggle to access basic healthcare. At the Lisanjala Health Clinic, Sister Nilcéia and her staff work tirelessly to help nurse the sick and the vulnerable back to health.

Support for the annual Christmas Appeal will make a difference for children and communities in need, helping to provide practical support such as medical care, says the national director of Catholic Mission, Fr Brian Lucas.

“Babies and children face the real danger of death from preventable illnesses such as malaria and malnutrition in communities like Lisanjala,” says Fr Brian.

“There is still a great need to bring health and life for children this Christmas and to help provide medicine and care for those in need.”

In many parts of Malawi, especially in rural areas like Lisanjala, the local people rely on subsistence farming to provide for themselves and their families. Basic needs such as food, clean water, healthcare, and education are never taken for granted, as many families live day-to-day with what they have, and often go without. For medical care, many people walk for hours to access the clinic and the care of Sister Nilcéia and her staff.

“Our small clinic, a red brick building in the dusty landscape, is an oasis of hope. But sometimes, the darkness seems very dark,” says Sister Nilcéia.

“It is hard to believe, but many people who live here are unable to think beyond their next meal. Sometimes this next meal is just leaves, grass, bark, or roots, which makes them very sick.”

Peter, who works with Sister Nilcéia at the clinic, is desperate to help his community. He has seen hundreds of sick and vulnerable babies and young children come through the doors of the clinic in desperate need of medical care and attention and knows the struggle that many local families face.

Having worked at the clinic for 13 years, Peter knows the difference that even the basic medical care the centre provides can be the difference between life and death.

“This year, four children under the age of five have died from treatable illnesses,” says Peter.

“We have not had paracetamol in two years. We are unable to treat the children’s fever and pain.”

By giving the gift of health and hope this Christmas, Sister Nilcéia and her staff can continue to make a difference to those in need.

“Your support can truly be life giving,” says Fr Brian.

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