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Help Us Stop the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone

by Greatest Goal Ministries USA
Help Us Stop the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone
Help Us Stop the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone
Help Us Stop the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone
Help Us Stop the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone
Help Us Stop the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone
Help Us Stop the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone
Help Us Stop the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone
Help Us Stop the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone
Help Us Stop the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone
Help Us Stop the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone
Help Us Stop the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone
Help Us Stop the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone
Help Us Stop the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone
Building of the 2,000 concrete blocks needed
Building of the 2,000 concrete blocks needed

Dear friend,

We are so appreciative of your support this year and in the past to Greatest Goal Ministries USA. The West African Ebola outbreak has finally ended in Sierra Leone and Guinea but after having been declared Ebola free for months Liberia recently announced three new cases. Flare ups in all three countries may continue indefinitely until a vaccine is found. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has lasted over 18 excruciating months with over 11,000 lives lost. This is the longest Ebola outbreak in human history.

The effects from this crisis will be felt for years to come due in part to the loss of so many medical personnel, and health care to the general population was severely curtailed during the epidemic. Clinics and hospitals are only just now reopening to the general public and only with strict Ebola screening procedures in place. The countries and healthcare centers will need to remain vigilant.

A few years ago I found a familiar quote from Augustine Burrough’s, “When you have your health you have everything. When you do not have your health, nothing else matters”. Imagine living in a country that essentially had to stop providing any basic health care for over 18 months because the risk was just too great.

This is why Greatest Goal Ministries is so excited to report that we have finished construction of our new, freestanding Ebola triage and screening center, patient holding area and community education center as well as an incinerator. Pictures from construction are included in this report. It is important to understand that in order to keep our staff and the community safe we must continue to monitor and screen perhaps indefinitely for any signs of new Ebola outbreaks.

With construction completed our free outpatient facility can reopen after the first of the year providing health care to a community that has been suffering terribly since the epidemic began.

We hope that you can continue to support our work and help us raise the funds needed to train staff, purchase needed supplies and continue to provide free medications and lab tests for people who can barely afford to eat and therefore will fill their belly rather than use what little they have for healthcare. Most of the deaths are unnecessary and due to easily treated and supported conditions such as malaria, cholera, pulmonary infections, skin infections, hypertension, diabetes. But if you cannot afford the care then you suffer even more.

Thank you for your donations and we look forward to the next report announcing our opening!!

Happy Holidays and wishing you and yours the best in 2016.

Early construction of the screening center
Early construction of the screening center
Zinc Roof completed
Zinc Roof completed
Construction continues
Construction continues
Hardboard for the ceiling
Hardboard for the ceiling
Wheelchair ramps for the disabled
Wheelchair ramps for the disabled
Nearly completed screening and holding center
Nearly completed screening and holding center
Completed screening center
Completed screening center
Constructing incinerator for hazardous waste
Constructing incinerator for hazardous waste
Incinerator construction completed
Incinerator construction completed

It is an exciting time to be in Sierra Leone. Since 2007 when Greatest Goal Ministries began working in Sierra Leone we were of course very aware of the dismal health care system and the gaping holes in healthcare delivery. Since 2009 we have been offering free healthcare to Sierra Leone and community education as well as healthcare education to all of our Sierra Leone staff through our international medical teams. When Ebola arrived in West Africa we knew that the fight would be long and hard. There just was not enough infrastructure and resources to combat the disease without outside help.  International aid began to pour into the country. Changes at the administrative and oversight level have begun.  Unfortunately, the people still cannot receive the healthcare they so desperately need.

Greatest Goal Ministries has been providing free medical care since 2009 in Sierra Leone and since late 2012 in Lakka at the Lady Deborah Berewa outpatient Hospital (LDBH). But like all healthcare facilities in the country, during the yearlong Ebola crisis, healthcare facilities either closed or became Ebola hospitals and the LDBH was no exception.  For the safety of the staff and patients the LDBH closed in August 2014. The reopening is now a slow process but we are on track to open in the next few months thanks to generous donors. Health system strengthening is happening across the country and Greatest Goal Ministries is working hard to ensure that all funds raised are being used for this purpose.

To ensure that standard screening and healthcare practices are followed the Ministry of Health has put processes in place. Greatest Goal Ministries has now completed all the administrative paperwork and is waiting for government approval.

Funds raised in part from Globalgiving are providing the resources needed for health system strengthening in the following areas:

  • Painting-
  • Walls inside and outside as well as the roof have been repaired and painted. This is the rainy season and if not taken care of mold and mildew rots everything.
  • Plumbing-All sinks and flush toilets within the hospital have been repaired.
  • Several outside pipes that had burst due to the poor materials available have now been repaired with better materials.
  • Electrical-  
  • The Ebola crisis brought a much needed transformer to the Lakka hospital compound for its Ebola unit. GGM was given permission from the National Power Association to purchase and connect a cable from the Lady Deborah Hospital to the dedicated transformer.   On September 1, 2015 for the first time in two years the hospital is receiving electricity. Not having to rely on a generator means more funds are available for direct patient care.
  • Ebola Triage Unit- Architectural plans for a triage center and incinerator are complete and are currently under review by the Ministry of Health.   Construction should begin within the week.

Ebola left the country with fear and uncertainty but it also brought to light a health care system that desperately needed attention. We are continuing our efforts to improve and continue the high quality, basic health care that is so needed in Sierra Leone for the people of Sierra Leone at our Lady Deborah Berewa outpatient healthcare facility. We are so thankful for your continued support.

 Attached to this report is the link to a news report from FOX News in Seattle, WA about Ebola and GGM’s work.

Links:

Sierra Leone billboard sign
Sierra Leone billboard sign

Dear GlobalGiving Donors,

After having spent four months working in Sierra Leone as part the Ebola Response with Partners In Health,  I now have a much greater understanding of the toll this epidemic has taken on the country of Sierra Leone.

Not only have entire generations of family members died, but those surviving the virus are facing serious medical complications.  After 6 weeks in an Ebola unit,   I spent the next  three months working at the Port Loko Government Hospital setting up triage and opening wards to patient care.  The patients we saw were extremely ill as it has been virtually impossible to receive medical treatment during this epidemic.

Ebola is changing health care delivery in Sierra Leone and the other West African countries.  The need to triage and evaluate all patients for possible Ebola infections after the country is declared Ebola free will be the new normal. 

That is why I am so happy to announce that Greatest Goal Ministries has received a $20,000.00 health-strengthening grant to build a triage center at our Lady Deborah Berewa Hospital in Lakka.  We plan to begin construction in September with the doors to our facility opening shortly after.

The triage center will allow us a safe building to determine whether patients meet the case definition as a suspect Ebola patient and then to safely isolate them for transport to an Ebola center for further evaluation.  Once the country is declared Ebola free we will need to continue this type of evaluation so that if another outbreak develops it can be controlled quickly.

I am grateful I had the opportunity to be a warrior on the forefront of this epidemic.  Our health care work in Sierra Leone since 2007 through Greatest Goal Ministries  allowed me to understand why and how this epidemic swung so out of control.  Because of the length of my deployment during this Ebola crisis I saw firsthand how an Ebola Unit operates.  I saw firsthand how dismal and inadequate health care services currently are in the country and the urgent need to reopen health care facilities.  With the rainy season beginning, malaria, cholera and other infectious diseases will once again surge.

The people of Sierra Leone deserve at least minimal health care.  We are excited that the epidemic is winding down and that we can soon again deliver our high standard of basic medical care for the people of Sierra Leone.  We are grateful to all of you who have supported us and hope that you will continue.  The fundraising efforts from this Global Giving site provide much needed support to continue community education and provide the supplies needed to keep our health care workers safe.

Health care in Sierra Leone must be strengthened.  We can no longer sit by and pretend it does not matter.  The world has become a place where, because of modern travel, we are all connected.  What happens on the other side of the world does make a difference in our lives.

Thank you for all your support!

Ebola unit in Port Loko where I worked
Ebola unit in Port Loko where I worked
Triage at an Ebola Unit
Triage at an Ebola Unit
GGM outpatient facility where triage will be built
GGM outpatient facility where triage will be built
Full truck ready to deliver
Full truck ready to deliver

On February 2, 2015, a Greatest Goal Ministries team of five began a week long outreach to support the disabled of Sierra Leone during this Ebola crisis.  With funds donated through GlobalGiving, food items and medical supplies were purchased.  The areas reached were across the country with very rough roads.

Disabled groups from across the country were very excited to see us and to receive care and food supplies. Some said that GGM was the only team that has met them with and the outreach was timely.  They also felt the message was explicit and clear for them to understand.            

In the western area the team met with the deaf and with the blind at Wilkinson Road and the blind at Grafton.  They also met with the Grafton polio victims. As the photos suggest they were very glad to receive food items and medical supplies and the Ebola message.  

In Port Loko, one of the hardest hit Ebola areas, the amputees were very glad to see us.  We were told that we are the only organization that has met with them since the Ebola crisis began, especially because movement has been very restrictive.  They emphasized that their major problems are toilets facilities and clean water wells. These problems remain a real challenge for them and they are requesting GGM to help them with such facilities.

Lungi disabled persons were very grateful for the Ebola message, food items and medical supplies.

Kambia disabled persons were very much appreciative of the fact that GGM was able to reach them for the first time. Reaching them was a very long journey but the GGM staff was committed to reach them with food items and assorted medical supplies.

Kono has been hard hit by the Ebola crisis.  The roads are very bad and the drives are long to reach the disabled. But it was good, according to them, that we actually took the venture to reach them. They said they were very much excited that we had them in our thoughts.

Kailahn was by far the farthest distance and it was a challenge for GGM team members.  

What was made clear to the team is that there has been no Ebola at any of the disabled community sites, deaf, blind, and amputee or polio victims.  That was good news.  But travel restrictions due to the Ebola crisis has created even greater difficulties. 

Information was also gained about how the disabled are surviving in their various communities.  The team learned that most of them don’t have toilet facilities or water wells to help them.  It is a real challenge for them to cope with life.

Mohamed Lappia GGM resource officer
Mohamed Lappia GGM resource officer

Dear Donor,

Greatest Goal Ministries USA now has three of the four containers of emergency relief items sailing to Sierra Leone. The first 20 foot container of hand sanitizer should arrive this week. The 20 foot container of gloves is estimated to arrive in early November. The 40 foot container of bleach will follow about two weeks later. In two weeks, the last container out of Seattle, WA will be loaded. This local shipment is now at Gateway Medical Alliance waiting for the last two pallets of a total 13 pallets of assorted Ebola related medical supplies.

In late July of this year, President of Sierra Leone, President Ernest Bai Koroma, issued a state of emergency in the country. There were several steps announced and among them was the restriction of all public meetings and gatherings. This restriction means that there are no soccer games or practices allowed in the country for any teams.

For Greatest Goal Ministries Disability Sports Association we normally supply soccer uniforms and equipment but the Ebola crisis has changed everything. With country borders closed and villages quarantined, life is difficult for most Sierra Leoneans, but even more so for the disabled population.

In an attempt to help ease some of the pressure of the quarantine, Greatest Goal Ministries USA arranged with our Sierra Leone staff to deliver food items to nine polio and amputee teams in 6 cities across Sierra Leone.

To coordinate an endeavor such as this during a state of emergency took plenty of planning. The Executive Director of GGM USA, Lynn Pelton, wrote a letter to the Emergency Command Center of Sierra Leone requesting special credentials which would allow six GGM Sierra Leone Staff members to travel through the check points to the amputee and polio centers located in the provinces with several of them in the “hot zone”. Those cities included Freetown, Bo, Kenema, Makeni, Kamakuye and Moyamba.

These teams are located in communities that are now very isolated. The food delivered was divided between community team members and their families. In addition to the delivery of food, Phillip Sesay, GGM Lady Deborah Berewa Outpatient Hospital nurse director, taught each community about Ebola and what they could do to help themselves and protect their families.

The Kenema Polio team said that they were extremely grateful for the love and sacrifice that was made on the part of Greatest Goal Ministries Sierra Leone staff. The GGM Sierra Leone staff had to drive over 6 hours one way to meet with the Kenema team. The Kenema soccer team said it was great that as an organization, Greatest Goal Ministries USA thought about them at a time like this when they needed people and organizations to help them. They want to thank everyone involved in the process.

The Bo amputee team headed by coach Darboh has been long time members of Greatest Goal Ministries Sierra Leone Disability Sports Association. They said they were grateful that we were there for them during this difficult time when the government has limited movement across the country due to the Ebola crisis. They said they were looking forward to Greatest Goal Ministries USA’s continued help and they trust that we would be there for them.

It was very difficult before the Ebola crisis for the amputees and disabled of Sierra Leone but it is even more difficult now. They need help. Together we can make a difference. Thank you for your continued support.

Phillip Sesay teaching the community about Ebola
Phillip Sesay teaching the community about Ebola
Amputees recieving the food items
Amputees recieving the food items
9 communities given food by GGM SL staff
9 communities given food by GGM SL staff

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Greatest Goal Ministries USA

Location: Bellevue, WA - USA
Website:
Greatest Goal Ministries USA
Carolynn (Lynn) Pelton
Project Leader:
Carolynn (Lynn) Pelton
Executive Director
Bellevue, WA United States

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