How Luxury Travel Gives Back
Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy Builds Maternity Ward near Victoria Falls
March 28, 2018
Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy (AKP) celebrated the opening of a Maternity Ward in Nakatindi Village, Zambia, built with support from many of the travel company’s guests and travel advisors. The village borders Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, the UNESCO World Heritage site that includes the Zambezi River and Victoria Falls.
“We worked closely with village leaders as part of our company’s commitment to support communities on the edge of wilderness” explains the AKP Coordinator in Zambia, Camilla Rhodes. “Fewer than 19% of Zambian women receive healthcare during their first trimester. This is a critical time for the early diagnosis of HIV to help prevent transmission of the virus from mother to child. We also learned that most women in the village were giving birth at home -- without the assistance of a skilled healthcare worker.”
During a visit to the village several years ago, Abercrombie & Kent Advisory Board member Valerie Ann Wilson learned about the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS on this community, and the desperate need to improve the health care and facilities for expectant mothers. In 2016, Valerie, along with her daughters and co-owners, Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg, also an A&K Advisory Board member, and Kimberly Wilson Wetty, partnered with AKP to support a larger focus on maternal health in the village. A generous financial contribution and commitment from Valerie Wilson Travel helped to begin construction of the maternity ward.
The official opening of the Nakatindi Maternity Ward was celebrated with a ceremony attended by more than four hundred local villagers, as well as the Mayor of Livingstone Eugene Mapuwo and other local dignitaries. The festivities included opening a 40-foot shipping container filled with health care supplies and equipment valued at more than $400,000 that was donated by Project C.U.R.E, the world’s largest supplier of donated medical supplies. The Maternity Ward includes features specialized rooms for delivery, prenatal and postnatal care, ultrasounds, as well as private space for overnight staff and an office. Zambia’s Ministry of Heath will staff and operate the facility.
Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy first partnered with the Zambia Ministry of Health and the Nakatindi Community Health Committee in 2014 to build a Health Clinic, which today provides services to 6,000 people in the surrounding communities, seeing an average of 50 patients each day. This number is expected to increase with the Maternity Ward attracting pregnant women from the surrounding communities.
The Nakatindi Maternity Ward and Health Clinic are part of a larger effort to support the Nakatindi community. AKP, with contributions from A&K guests, provided initial support for a village bike shop and bike tour enterprise; constructed boreholes for clean water; and expanded the school’s vegetable garden to generate income and supplement student diets. With assistance from a nearby safari lodge, Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma, a new classroom block was built and a school lunch program established, which has dramatically reduced absenteeism.
Abercrombie & Kent works in partnership with local communities to protect and preserve local cultures, wildlife and ecosystems, integrating sustainable practices into a triple bottom line of environmental, economic and social responsibility. Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy coordinates A&K’s social and environmental commitments on a global scale with approximately 40 projects on all seven continents.
For more information about Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy’s efforts in Zambia and projects around the world, go to www.akphilanthropy.org.
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