‘Precious Cargo’ scroll to travel to the Western Isles

A ‘precious cargo’ scroll being transported around the world to raise awareness of the plight of maternal and newborn health in developing countries will be stopping off at Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway on Monday October 28.

The scroll (one of the oldest forms of communication) is being sent on a global journey, visiting those involved with midwifery (one of the oldest professions), starting with a tour of UK hospitals and maternity units. The scroll’s journey will raise awareness of the Motorcycle Outreach charity, which aims to introduce effective healthcare delivery in remote areas of developing countries. The scroll will also collect signatures and donations as it travels.

The scroll’s journey started from Hampton Court Palace, London, on Saturday, September 28, 2013. From there, it will do a tour of up to 50 UK hospitals until the end of November. NHS Western Isles Senior Midwifery Manager, Catherine MacDonald, will be transporting the scroll on October 28, from Glasgow to Stornoway, where she will be met by colleagues. Local midwives will take care of the ‘precious cargo’ for 24 hours and will oversee the signing of the scroll and the collating of donations.

There are major challenges in the developing world when it comes to getting access to quality healthcare, particularly for mothers and small infants. Every day, 800 women die of childbirth-related complications, many of which are avoidable, and those in rural areas of the developing countries are most at risk.

During childbirth, timing can be critical and for rural areas, the geography of the landscape can mean that there are significant challenges for professionals to get to those in need. Motorcycle Outreach aims to get healthcare workers travelling to remote areas so local people can have access to life-saving care.

In order to make this dream a reality, and to meet the Millennium Development Goal of a reduction in overall worldwide maternal death rates by three quarters, Motorcycle Outreach partnered with midwives, student midwives, and other healthcare workers around the country to help raise funds for ‘precious cargo’.

The majority of the scroll’s journey will be completed by volunteer motorcyclists who will act as couriers of the scroll, ensuring its safe passage. When it arrives in the Western Isles, local mums and babies groups will be invited to sign the scroll to pledge their support for a very worthy cause. Funds totaling £410, already raised from a recent baking stall held by the Maternity Department, will also be donated, in addition to any other funds raised in the meantime.