By Maria Myrback
One of the constants of having a chronic illness is that we all take pills. Usually a lot of pills. But what happens to those empty pill bottles when we’re done with them? Until recently the recycle bin has been my disposal unit of choice. After all, the landfills have enough problems without adding so much plastic to them.
But what if there was another option? What if we could make a difference in the lives of people in an entire country? What if we could keep children safer? What if we could virtually guarantee that someone in a third world country would be sure of making it home with essential medications?
Enter, The Malawi Project. According to their website: “While first world nations throw away perfectly good medicine bottles, medical pharmacies and hospital facilities in Malawi often find themselves with nothing except torn pieces of paper in which to wrap medicine for their patients. This is often seen in rural hospitals and villages where the poorest of the nation try to live and survive.”
The people in these outlying villages walk for miles to get essential medications for themselves and their families only to risk losing that medication on the long trip back home. Even if the meds reach home, then their small children are at risk of finding these drugs because there is no secure way to store them.
We can turn our illness into a benefit for others by donating our old pill bottles and guaranteeing that, not only will the medication reach someone in desperate need, but that their children will be safer.
What I have done is I chose a small cardboard box and I have been saving my old pill bottles in that. When it is full, I will do as instructed on the Malawi Project website and remove the labels by soaking the bottles in hot water. This way the rural doctors don’t have to spend their time peeling labels when they could be treating patients.
For more information, please visit the Malawi Project website: http://malawiproject.org/medicine-bottles-for-malawi/ or you can just remove the labels from your bottles, box up what you already have and send them to:
Malawi Project Inc
3314 Van Tassel Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46240