An intrepid charity fundraiser has taken on the challenge of building a ‘placenta pit’ to complete a new medical centre in a far-flung African village.

Professional financial advisor Philippa West, from Weardale, will travel more than 3,700 miles with 11 other volunteers to the remote village of Buh, in North-West Cameroon, in October, as part of a national fundraising group.

But before they go, the group needs to raise £11,500 which will fund urgent finishing touches to a new medical centre which will serve around 6,000 people in Buh and surrounding villages.

The project, which is managed and funded through international charity AidCamps and its fundraising campaigns, is already part-completed.

The extra cash raised by Philippa and her team will help to cover the cost of new showers and toilets as well as a placenta pit, which enables pathological and medical waste to degrade naturally.

The 26-year-old said: “We are hoping to raise around £11,500 to provide the local community with a functioning rural health centre as well as to work alongside the local healthcare professions.

“We aim to work in partnership with the local community to deliver sustainable long-term healthcare and to build on the considerable efforts the community has already made so far in realising their desire to have access to maternity and health services.

“Our aim is to make this a reality with them, but to do this we need to support the community to complete the building of an appropriate clinic, to provide the most basic of medical equipment and supplies of both medical consumables such as bandages and needles, and drugs. The local population will purchase these items from the clinic.

“Our work is aimed at making the health centre to become functional in order that the community can make continued use of it.”

Philippa is a director with financial planning and investment management firm Three Counties, which is based in Bournmoor, County Durham, and has been helping her fundraising efforts.

She said: “We’ve already raised money through various events and donations from colleagues and some of our clients.

“We need to hit our target before we go and we only have just over a couple of months to do it, but we’re confident we’ll get there!”

Philippa and the team of fundraisers, who are based around the country, will travel from Heathrow Airport to Douala in Cameroon on October 29 and are due to return on November 14.

AidCamps International is a UK-based registered charity which takes volunteers to developing countries to take part in short-term voluntary projects, most of which focus around the construction of schools, medical centres and other practical buildings to benefit developing communities.

Philippa is hoping to individually raise £795 as part of the group’s fundraising, and has already raised almost £600 – donations can be made via her fundraising page at www.aidcamps.org/philippawest.aspx

Three Counties are also seeking a £50 sponsor for each hole of a fundraising golf day they’re hosting at Brancepeth Castle Golf Club on September 29 – businesses can contact Philippa on 0191 230 3034 or by email to philippa.west@three-counties.co.uk

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