‘This is where your money goes’ – Charity in murdered Stevenage doctor’s name helps save lives of newborn babies

The incubator funded by the Karen Woo Foundation has already been put to good use.

The incubator funded by the Karen Woo Foundation has already been put to good use. - Credit: Archant

The lives of babies are regularly being saved in Afghanistan thanks to an incubator funded in part by Comet readers.

The incubator funded by the Karen Woo Foundation has already been put to good use.

The incubator funded by the Karen Woo Foundation has already been put to good use. - Credit: Archant

Last year, the Karen Woo Foundation appealed for help in raising £2,000 for an incubator at Afshar Hospital in Kabul.

The foundation was set up in the name of a 36-year-old doctor from Stevenage who was shot dead by Taliban in Afghanistan in 2010 while working with medical charity International Assistance Mission.

The Karen Woo Foundation is a grant-giving charity, focusing on supporting projects in Afghanistan which provide healthcare to communities which have little or no access to basic medical provision.

The new incubator has already been put to good use, for instance when a 25-year-old deaf and dumb woman travelled 200km to the hospital to give birth to twins at just 28 weeks.

Karen Woo

Karen Woo - Credit: Archant


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The twins were born through caesarean section and weighed just three and four pounds each.

A hospital spokesman said: “Both were provided with care in our neonatal nursery. The infant incubators were really effective in preventing these tiny twins from getting hypothermia. Now the babies are 12 days old and feeling much better and both are gaining weight.”

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Doctor Mark Scoffield, senior director of Alliance for Medical Outreach and Relief in Kabul, approached the Karen Woo Foundation to fund an incubator, as well as a warmer and 02 concentrator, due to increased demand.

He said: “Our hospital is gaining a reputation related to our capacity to handle more complex and difficult pregnancies, which is resulting directly in the need for more capacity. Your donation has definitely helped in raising our capacity.

“I hope you realise how valuable these pieces of equipment are in this part of the world. Without even the most basic healthcare, many of these young babies die. Fortunately, these particular babies received the care needed and will survive. We certainly are grateful and appreciative of your support.”

Karen’s mum, Lynn, who lives in Stevenage, said: “I just wanted to let people know what happened with their money.

“We are now looking to raise money to meet two new requests. One is from an American charity - The Zwan Family Charity - which is working in Afghanistan helping children, particularly orphans. They have identified a deficit in dental care for children in a specific village and have a project to improve overall health through improved dental care.

“A second request has come from a British charity which we have helped before. Medair has been working for several years in Afghanistan and has asked for further help towards purchasing medication and supplies and for providing refresher training for community health workers.”

If you want to support The Karen Woo Foundation, visit www.karenwoofoundation.org, email contact@karenwoofoundation.org or call Philip French on 07966 018015.

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