Medicine bottles for Malawi


UNION COUNTY — Empty medicine bottles usually go in the trash but the Union Civitan Club is asking Union County residents to instead donate them to help the people of the African nation of Malawi.

The Republic of Malawi is a landlocked nation in southeastern Africa with a population of just over 16.4 million with 85 percent of its people living in rural areas. It is one of the least developed nations in the world with 90 percent of its population engaged in subsistence farming and 53 percent of its population living below the poverty line. The country has a Gross Domestic Product of $12.81 billion, with a per capita GDP of $900. As of 2012, 1.1 million Malawians or 10.8 percent of the population was HIV-positive.

Malawi-mapOne aspect of Malawian impoverishment is that Malawians in general do not have access to plastic medicine bottles that are commonplace in the wealthier countries like the United States of America. As a result, Malawians who receive prescription medication must carry and keep their pills in anything available such as a piece of paper.

The Union Civitan Club is looking to help change that.

“We have an international magazine and we usually get information from other clubs about what they are doing,” Union Civitan Club President Modest Keenan said Friday. “I read where this club was collecting medicine bottles for the people of Malawi.”

medicine-bottlesThe club collecting medicine bottles is the Greater Community Civitan Club of Durham, NC. The club learned about the situation in Malawi through the non-profit “The Malawi Project” and decided to help provide those needed medicine bottles.

Keenan said that upon learning of the efforts of their fellow Civitans in North Carolina, the Union Civitan Club decided to contribute to the effort to help the people of Malawi by collecting empty prescription medicine bottles in Union County. He said this is part of Civitan Club’s efforts to help people both locally and around the world.

“Civitans reach out to help,” Keenan said. “A couple of years ago we collected shoes to send down to Haiti after that hurricane. We are always looking for ways help people, both here and all over the world. We’re always looking around for ways to help.”

The Union Civitan Club is asking the people of Union to donate their used prescription medicine bottles to the effort instead of throwing them away. The Civitans are asking that people wanting to donate place their “old, unused medicine bottles in boiling water until you are able to easily remove the labels, and the glue.” Once that’s done, put the bottles in a box or bag and drop them off at the following locations:

• WBCU radio station
• The Union Daily Times office
• Modest Keenan’s Barber Shop
• Twist and Shout
• Dr. Gary Horvath’s Orthodontist offices in Union or Spartanburg

Keenan urged the people of Union County to take what they would normally treat as garbage and instead use it to help a people in need.

“Medicine bottles don’t cost us nothing in this country and we just throw them away,” Keenan said. “The people of Malawi don’t have medicine bottles for their medicine, they get them in newspapers, paper towels, anything they can find. We can help them by giving them our old medicine bottles.”

Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or