Foundation for Restoring Healthcare to Liberia, Inc.

- The Mission of Healthy Women, Healthy Liberia is to promote the health of the people and educate patients through Comprehensive, Sustainable, Community-Based Primary health Care. - The Vision of Healthy Women, Healthy Liberia is to transform communities using community based health care models for medical and dental care through education and services, especially to women and children. - The primary goal of HWHL is to improve the health and welfare of the people of Liberia with an emphasis on preventative healthcare programs for women.
Dec 2, 2014

November Update and New Medical Center Renderings

Entry
Entry

Right now everybody is focused on Ebola. Liberia's government has set a highly ambitious goal of zero new ebola cases by December 25.  Like everyone we're doing all we can in terms of prevention -  educating people, placing buckets. Last month we authorized the purchase of another 1000 buckets with a continuing goal of placing them in every school, church, mosque, and marketplace in Margibi County. 

When the hospital reopened last month we reopened our clinic treating fevers, malaria, diarrhea, sore throats, wounds, typhoid, STIs, and deworming just as we have always done.  Our emphasis continues to be on community health, keeping people and communities safe and well. Sometimes we see potential cases of ebola and make the referrals necessary for treatment.  Dr. Chris has been hosting the Heart to Heart International Leadership team at her Monrovia Guest House, as they respond to the need to build and staff additional ebola isolation facilities.  We are continuing to work with communities to allow the ebola teams in to do what they need to do. This crisis has brought urgency and attention to our work, but it hasn't changed the work.

There continues to be a scarcity of health workers everywhere in Liberia. Dr. Chris is one of only three doctors in Margibi County.  The other two work for the goverment at C.H. Rennie Hospital.  Our Community Health Workers serve as the primary health care providers for patients in and around Kakata.   Community Health Workers provide health education, they lead the vaccination and immunization campaigns and provide first aid to community members when they are sick. They encourage pregnant women to seek health care and mothers to seek postnatal care.   They are the first responders.  We are moving forward in 2015 to more than double the number of trained Community Health Workers from 8 to 18. 

Last week we finished the grading work required to set the foundation for our new Medical Center facility. We are now able to share the drawings for this beautiful new facility.   Building Goodness Foundation has been supporting our work to design and construct a beautiful, new space over the next twelve months.  Their knowledge and experience have already provided so many benefits to our Liberian team.  Job skills are critical for community development.  Even though we primarily do work in healthcare, one of our goals in building this facility is to use local labor and to train as many men as we can in world class construction skills so that when our facility is complete they can continue with a valuable trade.   

Like the government our plans for the coming year are also ambitious - build a new Medical Center, double the number of trained healthcare workers, keep Margibi County healthy and safe.  With your help we have accomplished so much in the past three years.  We look forward to putting this ebola crisis behind us and with your continuing support, moving forward!  Please remember us on Giving Tuesday - December 2.

Inside entry
Inside entry
West Entry
West Entry
Chapel
Chapel
Veranda
Veranda

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Dec 2, 2014

Giving Tuesday Update 12/02

Dr. Chris Hena - Thumbs Up!
Dr. Chris Hena - Thumbs Up!

People don't shake hands anymore in Liberia. People don't hug. Thumbs Up is the standard greeting these days!  

Everybody is still focused on Ebola, but there are beginning to be signs of hope.  Last week’s World Health Organization (WHO) Ebola Report stated that transmission appears to be stabilizing in Liberia.  Liberia's government has set a highly ambitious goal of zero new ebola cases by December 25.  The size and scope of ebola treatment facilities that the American troops are building are being reduced.  Defense officials said that instead of 17 isolation units, the military would be building 10, and that seven of them would have 50 beds each, rather than the 100 beds previously planned.

Like everyone, we've been doing all we can in terms of prevention - educating people, placing buckets. Last month we authorized the purchase of another 1000 buckets with a continuing goal of placing them in every school, church, mosque, and marketplace in Margibi County.   When the hospital reopened last month, we reopened our clinic and went back to treating fevers, malaria, diarrhea, sore throats, wounds, typhoid, STIs, and deworming just as we have always done.  Our emphasis continues to be on community health, keeping people and communities safe and well. Sometimes we see potential cases of ebola and make the referrals necessary for treatment.  We are continuing to work with communities to allow the ebola teams in to do what they need to do.   This crisis has brought urgency and attention to our work, but it hasn't changed the work.

New concerns have surfaced about the devastating impact on the economy. When ebola hit the country, the toll was immediate. Earlier this month, a World Bank report said that "nearly half of the working population of Liberia is no longer working since the crisis began."  Wealthy Liberians with dual citizenship and foreign nationals fled the country, taking their purchasing power with them. When the state of emergency was declared, the government closed.  Restaurants and bars had to close at 6 pm. Schools closed, gatherings prohibited.  People avoided public places and public transportation.  Fearing infection, people stopped visiting hairdressers and clothing shops. Mining companies slowed or stopped operations, and suppliers across the board lost their incomes. Small businesses around the country had to close.  Hundreds of thousands of people are now out of work.  Tax revenues are down significantly and fuds are being expended on ebola, not development.  Liberia was one of the fastest growing economies in the world last year, but recent projections show that the country’s growth could be going backwards in 2015.  

Things are beginning to turn around.  The rainy season is over.  Farmers are being encouraged to start planting again. Investments are being made in roads and construction, industries that create jobs and opportunities for suppliers. Mining companies have started operations again and will be exporting minerals in the coming months. Thousands of foreign workers have also arrived in the country, which is giving a big boost to the service sector.  If things remain stable schools are expected to reopen in January.

At HWHL we are focusing on the future too.  There continues to be a scarcity of health workers everywhere in Liberia. Dr. Chris is one of only three doctors in Margibi County.  The other two work for the government at C.H. Rennie Hospital.  Our Community Health Workers serve as the primary health care providers for patients in and around Kakata. Community Health Workers provide health education, they lead the vaccination and immunization campaigns and provide first aid to community members when they are sick. They encourage pregnant women to seek health care and mothers to seek postnatal care.   They are the first responders.  We are moving forward in 2015 to more than double the number of trained Community Health Workers from 8 to 18. 

Last week we finished the grading work required to set the foundation for our new Medical Center facility. We are now able to share the drawings for this beautiful new facility.   Building Goodness Foundation has been supporting our work to design and construct a beautiful, new space over the next twelve months.  Their knowledge and experience have already provided so many benefits to our Liberian team.  Job skills are critical for community development.  Even though we primarily do work in healthcare, one of our goals in building this facility is to use local labor and to train as many men as we can in world class construction skills so that when our facility is complete they can continue with a valuable trade.

Like the government our plans for the coming year are ambitious - building a new Medical Center, doubling the number of trained healthcare workers, keeping Margibi County healthy and safe.  With your help we have accomplished so much in the past three years.  We look forward to putting this ebola crisis behind us and with your continuing support, moving forward!

Medical Center Entry
Medical Center Entry
Medical Center Inside Entry
Medical Center Inside Entry
West Entry
West Entry
Ebola Stats
Ebola Stats

Links:

Sep 8, 2014

Ebola Update 9/8

Learning about Hand Washing
Learning about Hand Washing

The first case of Ebola in Liberia was reported in March 2014.  At that time it seemed the crisis was far away from Kakata, something reported in the news, rumored about town, with little impact on our daily work.  We continued to treat patients with very high fevers, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle pain, headaches, malaria, sore throats, injuries, pregnancies, and chronic diseases.  We talked about Eand took precautions, but we were treating these cases long before ebola came to Liberia, and continued to treat them after ebola became official.

Between March and July, we worked in the clinic and out in the communities treating 2,173 patients and de-worming 3,736 kids and adults.  We provided glasses to 150 patients, took care of 107 pregnant women with prenatal visits and after delivery care, and provided clothing to 85 adults in desperate need. We provided 125 health kits to children; provided toothbrushes and talked about dental care.  Every day our health workers rotate under a tree in the yard providing health education on various topics to the patients who gather there. In addition to the patients under the tree, we provided classes to over 1,200 women and men out in their communities in community centers, churches, schools and other gathering spaces.   We have been talking about hand washing and sanitation for 3 years.  We also provided health education with regular medications to everyone under our care for chronic diseases, such high blood pressure, diabetes, sickle cell, and epilepsy.   Health education is provided to every patient we see. 

When the local hospital closed and the government shutdown in July, our clinic was overwhelmed by all the patients coming to us.  Senator Oscar Cooper provided us with disposable PPEs immediately when the first ebola case was reported in Kakata.  Ebola was real, it was in Kakata.   The first report turned out to be a false alarm, but within a month, we lost 11 nurses from the local hospital and 3 local pastor's wives, caregivers to members of their churches. Dr. Chris and the staff knew many of these people personally as members of our community. 

Even though the government has discouraged travel, the population of Margibi County has grown from 135,000 to over 200,000 in the last 90 days.  Kakata, being centrally located, has seen a surge in population from both rural areas and the city, as people seek a safe place with their families.  We see new faces in our outreach every day.   People are very anxious to hear what we have to say.  The Ministry of Health provided us with pamphlets about ebola and we were able to make copies for widespread distribution, but more than half of these people are not able to read or write.  Flyers and pamphlets are of little value for them.  They have questions.  We talk in the language that they understand. They are encouraged to pass on what they learn to relatives and neighbors not able to attend or who live in other areas of the country.   We believe that we have reached more than 136,000 people since March.

We were not properly equipped to handle the increasing patient load after the hospital closed.  There was no place to refer patients.  The government imposed restrictions on large groups of people gathering.   Dr. Chris decided to close the clinic, both to comply with government restrictions on people traveling and gathering and for the safety of patients and staff.  

Although the clinic is closed, we continue to serve those serious cases coming to our doors and giving refills of medications.  We hold daily training sessions and community meetings, taking our messages to each of our 34 communities.   In the past 3 weeks we have purchased 200 buckets, 200 large bottles of bleach and soap to build hand washing stations.  Four buckets have been placed at main entrances and exits of each community, so that people can stop and wash their hands. Our next goal is to permanently place additional buckets in each school, day care center, church, mosque, garage, and market place.  

Our emphasis continues to be on community health, keeping people and communities safe and well.  The message on ebola is just a fraction of our message.  This crisis has brought urgency and attention to our work.  We continue to talk about fevers, malaria, diarrhea, sore throats, typhoid, and STIs, watching hands, nutrition, and deworming.  We continue to work with groups to provide clean water. 

Throughout this crisis our health workers have continued to provide outstanding and faithful service.  All of the health workers in Kakata ran away from their post, but our staff stayed and did the work necessary. We will never be able to repay them for risking their lives during this whole ordeal.   They are still at work in the communities daily. 

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