by Dr John Townsend, Medical Director of ECHO.
An anxious mother brought her child to me: ‘What’s the problem?’ I asked. ‘She pushed a hard black bean into her ear three days ago and it won’t come out. Now it’s really hurting her.’
They sat, forlorn, on the wooden bench in the rural clinic in Thailand where I was working. The two year old girl crouched on her mother’s knee, crying and pulling at her ear.
With careful examination I could see the bean, but none of my three different types of forceps was any good: one was too big, one too small, and the third could not go far enough into the ear.
Only one kind of forceps would have done the trick - and I didn’t have one. That left all three of us upset. I referred them to a hospital a day’s journey away, not knowing if they would even go.
That same year, 1966, ECHO was born: its task has been to get exactly the right instruments, at low prices, to those who urgently need them in remote areas of the developing world. We supply the basic essential medicines for village health workers.
Does your programme need solar-powered vaccine cold chain carriers? We have them. Has AIDS affected your community? We have low-cost HIV testing kits and support materials like syringes and gloves.
Most recently, with the Diocese of Central Tanganyika and Tear Fund workers Sam and Gill Rutherford, ECHO has been involved in starting a workshop to train Tanzanian hospital maintenance men in the repair of the right equipment for the right job.
Please write, telex or fax us for more information. Better still, visit ECHO when you’re in the UK.
ECHO, Ullswater Crescent, Coulsdon, Surrey, CR5 2HR, UK
Tel: 081 660 2220, Telex: 924507 ECHO G, Fax: 081 668 0751