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Funds raised will go towards another Zimbabwe hospital

After having to put money raised for a hospital in Zimbabwe on hold after turmoil there, Langley Rotary clubs are ready to send the $57,642 they raised to a similar medical facility.

“The last four months of 2012 certainly was a tumultuous period for our Rotary effort in Zimbabwe,” said Langley Rotarian Dr. Brendan Martin who founded International Health Langley — a fundraising arm of the Rotary Clubs that help hospitals in poor nations.

Canadian bush doctor Dr. Paul Thistle gave up a lucrative career in this country and dedicated 16 years as the chief doctor at Zimbabwe’s Howard Hospital when he was fired in August.

“His strict adherence to proper accountability and ethical principles resulted in an impasse,” said Martin.

Thistle was abruptly fired and told to leave the country by the leadership of the Salvation Army there.

A Salvation Army officer himself, Thistle questioned the leaders over fundraising dollars and where the  money was going.

“The Salvation Army leadership wants all the money raised to pass through their bank accounts in Harare, (Zimbabwe). There was a pattern of the money not arriving at the hospital or arriving late,” said Martin in August.

Thistle was being punished for being a good steward of those funds, he said.

Thistle refused to leave the country, but couldn’t return to Howard Hospital.

“Unfortunately Howard Hospital has imploded since his removal and is only functioning at a small fraction of its former level,” said Martin on Monday.

This month, Thistle joined the surgical team at Karanda Hospital, a few hours’ drive from Howard Hospital.

The $57,642 will purchase the medical equipment and medicines originally intended for Howard Hospital, confirmed Martin.

“It’s a well-run hospital,” he said of Karanda.

On June 27,  2012, Thistle made a rare Canadian appearance and spoke to Langley residents at the Salvation Army Gateway of Hope to raise funds for his mission work. More than 70 came out to hear his stories and  see pictures from one Aldergrove Rotarian’s recent trip to the Howard Hospital.

Rotarian Wayne Crossen is currently in Kenya putting together a “Rotary Water Project.” Around $8,000 of fundraising proceeds will go towards that, said Martin.

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