2020 was by far the most challenging year since we started in 2008 but, despite the global pandemic, we are delighted to report that we still helped more than 23,000 women and children in 2020 - thanks to the dedication and commitment of our staff in Africa and the UK.
That is a remarkable achievement that we did not think possible in March last year and my sincere thanks go to the whole team for their unwavering support and hard work to make this possible.
We were equally humbled that our patients continued to trust us throughout the uncertainty of the pandemic and still came to our hospitals and clinics to seek help. They were our inspiration and kept us going on the darkest of days.
Our hospital in Sierra Leone remained open for essential maternity and children's services throughout 2020, with our fistula unit open for about six months of the year. Sadly, our clinics in Malawi and Madagascar had to close in April and were unable to reopen again in 2020 but we are pleased to report they are back up and running in 2021.
In a normal year, our UK team visits our projects in Africa at least six times, supporting the local management and staff. Sadly, we only managed one visit before travel restrictions were imposed but, thanks to our deep knowledge of the projects and long standing relationships with staff, the switch to distance management via zoom was not as difficult as we had envisaged. In fact, like many others, it forced us to fast forward some investment in technology which will have a positive impact for the future.
All that was achieved in 2020 could not have happened without our loyal supporters. My sincere thanks go to all our supporters who have stayed with us throughout this very difficult time. We are truly humbled by the commitment of individuals and partner organisations who have stuck with us and stepped up when it has been needed most.
2020 was hard and the pandemic will continue to impact our work in 2021. But we survived and will continue to thrive for many years to come - thanks to you, our staff and our patients.
Dame Ann Gloag
Founder and Chief Executive Officer