The Path We Follow…

So to the route! Our great meander through Europe to Turkey, landing in Egypt and plunging south to the source of the Blue Nile and beyond…

We head off from Perranporth, Cornwall on Monday the 8th of October, crossing at Dover a few days later. Form there we drive through France, Belgium, Germany, The Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. Then we thrust down through the Balkans to Athens, Greece. Our first month is now behind us as we move on to Istanbul and the gateway to Asia minor.

In the last days of November we will aim to catch a ferry from Mersin, Turkey to Port Said, Egypt. Setting foot on African soil we will make our way through the ancient Kingdoms of Lower then Upper Egypt before chasing the Nile into Sudan. Where this great river divides at Khartoum we will give a presentation to the Haggar foundation. From here we will follow the curve of the Blue Nile into the highlands of Ethiopia. In the northern highlands we will visit the city of Gondar the focus for one of our charities G.E.E.S., Gondar Ethiopia Eye Surgery.

In the far west of Ethiopia we will start work on the project for late January/February: delivering blood pressure monitors, investigating the prevalence of Pre-Eclampsia, and assessing the feasibility of a screening programme for the CRADLE project. We then cross through the wilderness of southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya and dog leg back into Uganda where we hope to work for a few weeks in Iganda Hospital.

Back in southern Kenya we will have a bit of rest and relaxation before heading down to Tanzania, where there is the option to do further work for the CRADLE project. We then drive through Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Finally South Africa. In Cape Town, when we have recovered, we will work for a final month in Trauma and A&E before heading home. We may sell the car to some a charity or some travellers heading back the other way or ship it back home.

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A New Objective

According to the World Health Organization, just under 300,000 maternal deaths occur worldwide each year, with over half of them in Sub-Saharan Africa. Amongst the more major causes of mortality is eclamsia, a condition of unknown cause which can result in the death of both mother and foetus. Blood pressure monitoring in pregnancy helps to identify those at risk of eclampsia, and facilitate appropriate intervention. However, delivering a service that provides regular monitoring and intervention in Africa is currently a huge challenge.
With this in mind we are pleased to announce that we have agreed another major additional objective to our trip. We have been in communication with Kings College London regarding their CRADLE trial, which is an international research project supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with the following objectives:
–  Improve the data that we have on maternal mortality across Sub-Saharan Africa
–  Pilot the use of a new compact, solar powered blood pressure monitor
–  Investigate the effect of the regular use of this monitor on the rates of maternal mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa
–  Allude to the cost effectiveness of establishing blood pressure monitoring services in Sub-Saharan Africa
We will work to introduce these devices to Ethiopia, and gather and analyse data from their use over the period of approximately a month. We are hugely excited to be a part of this project; we’ll keep you updated as we know more.