Helping to Build Healthy Lives
Posted by Karen Hession on 10 Nov 09
Niall Mellon began building houses in the townships of South Africa 7 years ago, as he believed that no child should live in a shack. Dr. Nazly Khan runs a medical clinic in Hout Bay, Cape Town near Imizamo Yethu where Niall Mellon brought his first group of Irish builders in 2002.
Today the Doctor revealed the enormous difference a house makes to the health of the children and adults in the Townships where she works.
Some 950 Irish volunteers with the Niall Mellon Township Trust Township Trust are completing 200 homes for the poor people of the Wallacedene Township this week. There are 6,000 families living in shacks in the township.
Dr. Khan described the high rate of illness for small children who live in a shack and how a simple scratch can develop into an infected sore as tiny children crawl in sewer infected mud. Babies contract gastroenteritis, scabies, eczema, croup and asthma from the damp conditions in the shacks and cannot afford even the basic medication, leading to untold suffering. In addition children and adults contract HIV and TB.
However, Dr Khan said the new homes provided by the Niall Mellon Township Trust which have running water and electricity give poor families a new means to improve their hygiene and health. Private indoor bathrooms have also improved hygiene levels.
She praised the Irish charity for its work with the poor in South Africa.
“I am a doctor waiting for people to come to me, you go out and find the people,” she said.
When asked if she saw an end to this suffering in her lifetime she replied, “Possibly… if people like Niall Mellon continue to help ,we can house a lot more people. Giving them access to running water, sanitation and electricity reduces the incidence of all these illnesses.”
Niall Mellon Township Trust homes provide:
· Protection from rain, damp, wind and fire
· Reduction in fevers, burns and common illnesses like asthma and TB
· Running water and sanitation
· Greater self esteem and confidence of beneficiaries