US pop diva Madonna has launched a new fund-raising drive to support the training of a Malawian paediatric surgeon, her charity announced on Sunday.
Through her US registered charity Raising Malawi, the 'Queen of Pop' has emailed hordes of her well-wishers and fans, addressing them as Dear Friend, and asking:
"Will you consider donating $5 or more to support people like Dr Erick Borgstein, for many years the only paediatric surgeon in Malawi, who are helping orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi?"
Malawi, where 39% of the 13 million citizens are poor, has over one million orphans and vulnerable children, and less than 200 doctors, creating huge shortages in the medical system.
The charity said Borgstein "treats thousands of paediatric patients every year, performing hundreds of life-saving operations".
He also trains medical students in general and in paediatric surgery, thanks to the financial support from Raising Malawi.
"He will now formally train a young Malawian doctor to follow in his footsteps as a paediatric surgeon," the charity added.
Raising Malawi said for the past six years, it has "remained committed to supporting orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi... This would not be possible without the support of people like you, who share in our mission to end the poverty and hardship endured by the country's estimated one million orphans".
Calling itself the Raising Malawi Team, the charity thanked its supporters "for your support...we look forward to sharing future updates with you about the inspirational work of Dr. Borgstein and others".