New mattresses for the hospital in Gambia
New mattresses were delivered to the psychiatric hospital Tanka Tanka in West Africa thanks to a collaboration between the non-profit organisations Gamcup and Care of Sweden. “The mattresses on almost half of the beds in the hospital are from Care of Sweden, which is of course fantastic,” says Malin Sand, founder of Gamcup.
Some twenty new mattresses from Care of Sweden were delivered to the hospital in West Africa
An overwhelming trip to Gambia came to change Malin’s life. Having been gripped by the widespread poverty in the country, Malin Sand, whose day job is as a psychologist in Örebro, began thinking about how to bring about change – something that led to the foundation of the Gamcup aid organisation and several collections for supplies, including dressings and hospital mattresses.
“We went to Gambia for what was supposed to be a regular holiday, but we were overwhelmed by the poverty and even then we began thinking about moving and sojourning there,” says Malin.
However, Malin had to put her plans on hold as Ebola was ravaging West Africa around that time. Several years passed before she was able to fulfill her plans.
“We finally moved to Gambia in 2016 to live, for better or for worse, for one year on money we’d saved. I got in touch with the hospital at Tanka Tanka and asked if they could use my help free of charge, and they did not say no,” says Malin.
Very poor hygiene at the hospital
Malin describes Tanka Tanka as an impoverished psychiatric hospital whose more than 100 patients were seriously ill. The very poor hygiene caused many patients to die as a result of their physical condition.
“While I was working there, the hygiene was absolutely miserable and 18 patients died. They slept on mattresses that were 30-40 years old that no longer had covers, just bare foam rubber. “I can’t even begin to imagine the bacteria that were multiplying in those mattresses,” says Malin.
It was my experience from that year in the hospital that got me thinking about creating Gamcup, a non-profit whose main purpose would be to distribute menstrual cups and teach their use to women who usually could neither afford nor find feminine hygiene products. The lack of such products means these women are forced to stay at home from school during their periods.
“Many of these girls risk being absent from school so often that they eventually drop out. My husband and I thought a great deal about how best to make a difference, and we knew that providing women with education is one of the best ways to combat poverty.”
Today, almost half of the hospital’s mattresses come from Care of Sweden
Malin is still constantly busy sending supplies such as dressings and food down to Tanka Tanka Hospital from her home in Örebro.
“I started writing to different companies asking if they would like to help and I soon received a positive response from Care of Sweden,” says Malin.
Hospital Manager Omar Bojang and Nurse Baba Maneh at Tanka Tanka were very happy with the delivery.
Care of Sweden has sent mattresses to Gambia through Malin’s organisation before, and up until now has donated a total of 40 new mattresses to the hospital.
“This means the mattresses on almost half of all beds in the hospital are from Care of Sweden, which is, of course, fantastic,” says Malin.