Merlin USA

Merlin specializes in health, saving lives in times of crisis and helping to rebuild shattered health systems worldwide. We do whatever it takes and we stay for as long as it takes. Merlin works within existing health systems to realize everyone's right to accessible, appropriate, affordable health care. We are specialists in rapid medical response and rebuilding health systems, effectively taking countries from emergency to recovery.
Dec 12, 2011

Merlin - getting out there, saving lives

A mom bringing her daughter to our outreach clinic
A mom bringing her daughter to our outreach clinic

You kindly offered a gift towards our work in Kenya and so I thought you would like to know what we are doing with that gift - and how we are making it work to save lives.  

Our Outreach Teams are offering health to nearly half a million men, women and children in Turkana, in the north west of the country. Working with Merlin nutrition staff, the teams offer primary health care and back up, to the nutrition teams as the food crisis in East Africa continues.  

Merlin staff will still be there through out the Holiday season, offering care, love and support.  If you are able, please consider offering another gift to this project, thank you.

In North, South & Central Turkana, Merlin is now working at 76 outreach sites (these are temporary sites where our teams set up mobile clinics for one or two days at a time) and 33 health facilities.

By the start of October;

  • Merlin had helped to screen over 8,000 children for malnutrition.
  • Sadly, more than a 1,000 of those were severely malnourished and had to be placed within our intensive care feeding programmes.
  • Merlin are now offering a supplementary feeding program to all families in the areas where we work, distributing food supplements to around 10,000 children and pregnant women.
  • Merlin is supporting health workers in 4 nutrition stabilisation units to provide 24-hour care for severely malnourished children with medical complications – such as chest infections, and children with TB (tuberculosis) or HIV/ AIDS.
  • More than 600 children have been vaccinated for measles.
  • Solar refrigerators have been installed in 9 health facilities for safe vaccine storage, enabling Merlin staff to start operating much bigger vaccination programmes.  The result, to offer even more children protection against the five most common childhood killer diseases – polio, diphtheria, whopping cough, tetanus and measles.
  • Water filters have been distributed to health facilities.

 Merlin is offering direct access to health care for more than 485,000 men, women and children.

Our Outreach Team from Kaaleng Health Facility
Our Outreach Team from Kaaleng Health Facility


Oct 24, 2011

Mother & Child Care in an Emergency

Vaccinations in Toe Town Clinic
Vaccinations in Toe Town Clinic

Health Care for Refugees from Ivory Coast

As someone who is interested in Merlin’s health activities in Liberia, here is a quick update about our emergency work (including maternal health care) following the influx of refugees from the Ivory Coast following the disputed presidential elections and the civil war that broke out in March.

At the height of the violence, over 180,000 Ivoirians were in Liberia.  While some refugees have chosen to return to the Ivory Coast, as of last month (Sept 2011) over 178,000 refugees were still registered in Liberia, with more than 76,000 in the Grand Gedeh County and 36,000 in Maryland. 

Merlin's emergency response 

As Merlin has been working in Liberia for over 12 years, staff could respond immediately in Grand Gedeh and Maryland counties (which border the Ivory Coast), by sending a mobile health team to the border town of Tempo, as the nearest static health clinic was a nine hour walk away. Merlin was also appointed co-ordinators of all relief operations in Maryland by UNHCR. As the weeks went by mobile clinics and outreach activities were scaled up as the numbers of refugees continued to rise.

As well as managing the dire health needs of the refugee population, Merlin’s health teams also scaled up their activities in the host communities - to make sure local people were not losing out on opportunites to recieve health care.  Merlin scaled up health operations by:

· Providing extra support in Merlin-managed health facilities and the Zwedru Hospital in Grand Gedeh.

· Establishing transit camps for refugees, outreach facilities and mobile clinics. All of which offer post and pre natal maternity care and prioritise mothers and children, and pregnant women. Merlin recruit locally trained health care workers to run the health services.

· Initiating screening and registration programmes, so that communities will have a basic record of their health care in the longer term (which will help them to be diagnosed effectively in the future).

· Testing children for malnutrition, and offering intensive care for children who are severely malnourished.

· Distributing pregnancy health kits and offering pre-natal education classes.

· Since malaria is the leading cause of morbidity (>40%), health workers are raising awareness amongst refugees and host communities.

·  In Maryland, Merlin continues to provide essential health care through five primary health clinics, the county hospital and via mobile clinic services.  

· The Maryland County Health and Social Welfare Team have hosted two cross-border meetings on polio eradication and immunization. Merlin is a key participant in the immunization process and provid logistical support.


Merlin cares for people like Mabelle

Mabelle Marcel, arrived at the Merlin-supported clinic in Zleh Town, with her sick nine-month old son.  Like many refugees, Mabelle fled her village as soon as the rebels arrived:

“We heard gun shots, but I didn’t see the rebels; we just left everything and ran. The disabled and the old couldn’t run so they got shot, people were dying from stray bullets.”

Mabelle brought her baby to the Merlin-supported clinic after he had started vomiting continuously. The baby, who had a swollen spleen, was diagnosed with malaria. Luckily the health workers caught it early, and were able to prescribe medication.  Her son has made a full recovery.

Mabelle's son is treated in Zleh health clinic


Sep 20, 2011

Update on Health Services in Turkana - rural Kenya

Merlin's health project is continuing as planned in three areas of Turkana.  The total number of people benefitting from this project is 203 383.  These people live in the districts of Turkana Central, Loima and Turkana South, in the most remote region of north west Kenya.

Project Summary Update

Merlin is offering health care from 18 outreach sites (when a mobile clinic drives to the community and sets up a clinic once every 2-3 weeks) and 6 static clinic sites.  The main groups of patients are women (with a priority to pregnant women and new mothers) and children (especially those under 5 years of age).  The clinics offer obstetrics, other post and pre natal care and a full range of primary health care to make sure babies, toddlers and infants grow up healthy and strong.

Merlin have also set up a program of community based maternal health services and have trained and deployed 60 safe motherhood promoters - these are women chosen by their local communities and who are known and trusted by everyone who lives in the village.  The community health workers have been taught to identify and refer those women who are seen as at 'high risk' during their pregnancies.  This training has helped alleviate the number of unnecessary deaths and meant that more children continue to have a mother to look after them, which in turn means the children have a healthier future.

Achievements to date include:

  • Increased numbers of women have attened family planning classes and are attending antenatal classes (target of each woman attending 4 antenatal classes).
  • Increased number of births conducted by a skilled attendant (which has meant a reduction in the number of new borns and mothers dying).
  • Increased numbers of children immunized - in line with the target of a 10% rise each year.
  • A 90% increase in pregnant women being tested for HIV  (over 3100 to date) and referred for treatment.
  • A large rise in the provision of drugs, medicines, medical equipment and trained health staff throughout the area.
  • District health authorities have managerial support, are able to collect useful data for planning future health services and have set up tighter monitoring and coordination activities.

The project is planned to continue in the same areas in the longer term.  The local authorities have asked for similar programs to be set up in other areas and Merlin is now assessing potential funding streams.  Any donations offered will help Merlin to continue the work in Turkana - helping to save more pregnant women, mothers and their children.