Greatest Goal Ministries USA

Greatest Goal Ministries USA is a Christian, humanitarian, non-profit organization dedicated to empowering the disabled and under-served people of Sierra Leone to reach their full potential through health care, education, disability sports and disability advocacy.
Dec 11, 2012

First Lady of Sierra Leone gives GGM a new clinic

At the Presidential Lodge with the First Lady
At the Presidential Lodge with the First Lady

I returned from a 6 week trip to Sierra Leone in October.  During that time I had arranged a meeting with Her Excellency, Sia Nyama Koroma, the First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

As an organization we had been praying for expansion of our free primary care clinic in Murray Town, Freetown which was opened in 2009.  During conversations held earlier in spring the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) made it clear that they did not want further expansion at our clinic site.  The land had become a political hotspot for the community between various council people and the widespread encroachment of businesses on the property we had been originally told we could expand upon.

We decided to go straight to the top and see if there was an existing, empty hospital building that we could move our clinic to so that our free health services for the disabled and underserved could continue without disruption but also large enough or with adjacent property that we could expand and build a cancer center on in the future.  There is currently no cancer care available anywhere in Sierra Leone.  To our amazement I was told by the First Lady that I was the answer to her prayer. 

Three days later were given an empty building in Lakka on Peninsular Road just outside the capital city of Freetown.  The former Vice-President of Sierra Leone, Mr. Solomon Berewa had built the 24 bed hospital in memory of his late wife in 2006.  It had never been opened. 

After 3 meetings with the First Lady and 4 meetings with the former Vice President we went to work preparing the building with painting, cleaning, and renovation to the ceiling, electrical and water.  On Friday, Nov. 2 all parties, the current interim Minister of Health and Sanitation, Her Excellency Sia Nyama Koroma, Mr. Solomon Berewa and  GGM had signed off on a 20 year Memorandum of Understanding with 1.5 acres of land available for a future cancer center.

The new name of our clinic/hospital is “Lady Deborah Berewa Hospital”.   The doors are now open and
patients are being seen.  We are excited about this collaborative effort in place with the office of the First Lady and
hope to be able to report many new and exciting developments as GGM continues to strive for improved health care in Sierra Leone.  

Hospital before renovations began
Hospital before renovations began
Hospital front painted
Hospital front painted
Signing of MOU with GGM and Former Vice President
Signing of MOU with GGM and Former Vice President
Entry to hospital prior to renovations
Entry to hospital prior to renovations
Entry to hopsital after painting
Entry to hopsital after painting
Sep 20, 2012

Building of Composting Latrines

Sierra Leone's cholera outbreak is all over the news and a few of the links to the headlines are listed below. Cholera is a preventable disease but it spreads like wildfire in a country such as Sierra Leone ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world. Lack of housing, crowded living conditions, poor to no sanitation, a lack of understanding of basic hygiene, lack of clean water all of these descriptions help create the picture of why the epidemic is traveling so fast and why more will die before the epidemic is over.

GGM's construction of composting latrines and their introduction into the Western area of Freetown may help in a small way to introduce new ideas which hopefully can begin to travel faster than the epidemic. On September 22, 2012 a small GGM team will be traveling to Freetown. Working with local teen agers who have previously agreed to assist with this project and, with funds raised to date from our Globalgiving project. A minimum of two latrines will be built on the clinic compound. After one of the latrines is filled it is closed and lies dormant for at least one year. After that time if it is completely dry it can be emptied and the human waste can be used as fertilizer for gardens. While it is dormant the second latine is in use. Once built we will begin to open this idea to the community and help teach them how they can build their own family composting latrines.

We look forward to sharing the results of this project with you when we return in mid-October.

Links:

Sep 17, 2012

Cholera Epidemic in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone’s cholera epidemic is all over the news and a few of the headlines are listed below. Cholera is a preventable disease but it spreads like wildfire in a country such as Sierra Leone ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world.  Lack of housing, crowded living conditions, poor to no sanitation, a lack of understanding of basic hygiene, lack of clean water all of these descriptions help create the picture of why the epidemic is traveling so fast and why more will die before the epidemic is over.

As of September 11th, Sierra Leone has reported over 17,500 cases of cholera and over 260 deaths. Twelve of the 13 districts in the country have been affected.  Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. People usually become infected from drinking or eating contaminated water or food.  It is associated with watery diarrhea and rapid dehydration, which can be life-threatening.

The GGM clinic in Freetown is not treating cholera patients due to the size and staffing of our clinic but we are seeing patients with the disease and referring them to cholera treatment centers.  We have received funding from some of our donors for test kits that we are hand carrying to Sierra Leone in mid-September.  These kits will be used at our clinic as well as donated to several of our referring hospitals. 

We are also educating patients about the disease and what preventive measures they can take to keep from contracting the disease and what they should do if they or a loved one has symptoms of the disease.  These are classes are being held in our new education center.

Government  officials and the WHO are all stating that this epidemic is going to get worse before it gets better and education is the best medicine.  GGM is joining the fight to educate the patients and the community against this preventable but deadly disease. 

News Headlines:

BBC News - Sierra Leone cholera death toll rises

Aug 20, 2012 – A cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone has infected more than 100000 people and kills at least 176 since January, officials say.    

From Freetown the Sierra Express Media writes-Prevention is best for Cholera… By: SEM on September 7, 2012. Sierra Express Media would like to add voice to the latest threat of existence that has scourged our land and is still threatening the lives of our treasured country folks. As of the first week in September, the cumulative cases and death from cholera as reported by the Health and Sanitation Ministry were 15,564 and 249 deaths respectively. Twelve of the thirteen districts of the country are now affected. The Western area has continued to report the highest cases with Bombali, Tonkolili, and Kenema toeing the line.

World Vision Issued this Declaration

WV SIERRA LEONE Category II National Office Response Level Emergency Declaration for the Flood and Waterborne Disease Out Break: Owing to the current heavy rains that started in May 2012, Sierra Leone has experienced seasonal floods in different parts of the country especially in the low lands that includes the capital city Freetown. These floods in turn have caused an outbreak of water borne diseases of which Cholera is the most notable and has been declared a National Health disaster.

The Minister of Health, Madam Zainab Hawah Bangura, confirms that this is the worst Cholera Outbreak, since 1998, and as at 28th August 2012, it has claimed 231 lives, 14,465 reported cases and 11 districts affected
out of 12 districts, the Minister further predicts that the death toll will surpass the 2,500 deaths in the 2011 Cholera outbreak.  Further, other agencies including UN have predicted that number of cases will increase to 32,000 in the next three months.

Links:

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