A short history



In 2001, during one of her trips as a medical student I met Mags Riordan, founder of the clinic in Cape Maclear, Malawi.

She started this clinic in memory of her son Billy Riordan (www.billysmalawiproject.org),  who in 1999 drowned in Lake Malawi in Cape Maclear.

After finishing my studies in 2004 I worked as a tropical docter in a "Rural Health Center" in  Mfuwe, Zambia.

Since 2005 Iím working as a medical director in the "Billy Riordan Memorial Clinic" in Cape Maclear.
The motive to set up the Foundation ĎMother and Child in Cape Maclearí is the following event which I faced in the clinic. 

This is Catherine, a 32 years old woman in Cape Maclear.

September 6th I referred her to Monkey Bay Hospital because of obstructed labour. She gave birth to a son Joey with a birth weigth of 4.8 kg.


Because of haemorrhage post delivery she was referred from Monkey Bay Hospital to Mangochi District Hospital. Due to arriving there during the weekend, she had to wait till September 10th before she underwent a curettage. Afterwards she stayed in hospital utill September 26th, unclear for me what kind of medical treatment she had received in that time..

September 27th her sister attended our clinic with Joey. I saw a newborn baby with all signs of severe malnutrition. This sister told me that Joey didnít breastfeed because of the medical condition of his mother. They could not afford to buy babyformula for Joey. I visited Joeys mother at the end of the morning at her house, she was malnourished and in a severe medical condition. 


Shocked by this situation I asked someone to buy some babyformula in Monkey Bay.

After examination of Joeys mother I found that a retained placenta  despite the curettage onSeptember 10th.I was not surprised that she didnít recover from the delivery.    

I treated mother with i.v antibiotics  iron supplements and multivitamins. Joey received babyformla. 


This episode I send to family and friends. I received a lot of response. Thatís why my parents set up the charity ĎMother and Child in Cape Maclearí. 

Unfortunately Catherine died 3 months later. Joey is doing well after getting the babyformula. This is a picture when he is 5 months old:




With this story I want to show that here in Cape Maclear babies just die from hunger if their mothers are not able breastfeed.

 Malnutrition is an ongoing problem in Cape Maclear/Malawi. There are feeding programs in place organized by government or other big organizations, but their criteria are very strict. They look at weight for height, not at weight for age. Stunting is a big problem I face in Cape Maclear and these children donít have the criteria to join the national feeding programs. Also, the national feeding programs run out of nutritional supplements frequently, consistency is a problem.

The Foundation Mother and Child in Cape Maclear feeds children up to 12 years of age.

I give a bottle of feeding supplements for 2 weeks at a time.

I weight every child once every 1-2 months.

I check if they improve or if they need more medical care.

Jeannette van Os