Mosquito Net Care and Use
Even though this is the dry season as we close out the first quarter of 2016, malaria continues to be a major concern with 665 of the 1,839 patient visits or 36% resulting in a diagnosis of malaria. Over 75% of those affected were children. Dr. Chris and the Community Health team continued to hold frequent Malaria Health Education sessions on the proper use and care of mosquito nets, mosquito dangers from standing water, and treatment of bites in all 36 communities. Every home visit now includes a net check. A heavy deworming program also continued in February and March treating 15,239 people.
Our other major effort this quarter continued to be completion of the new Medical Center facility. Building Goodness Foundation in Virginia has been supporting our work to design and construct this new space for almost 3 years. We started with two goals beyond having a world class, purpose built facility; 1) to support the local ecomony by maximizing the use of local labor and local suppliers, and 2) to equip and train local workers so that when our facility was completed they could go to their next job.with valuable skills and good tools. The plan was for BGF to have a full-time, on-site project manager during the whole construction period and then have mission teams of master craftsmen -engineers, carpenters, plumbers,and electricians on-site for one to three week periods to guide and train at each major phase of construction. Travel restrictions and health concerns during the ebola crisis significantly impacted acheiving these goals. We worked with weekly conference calls, emailed sketches and photos for over a year with a bit more rework than planned for over a year.
Finally, at the beginning of January Project Manager Michael Anello travelled to Liberia to supervise the final finishing phase. He arrived with a long list of projects including final grading of the site; installing windows, doors, gates, and ceiling paneling; completing masonry work including terrazzo tile walls, flooring and countertops; selecting and installing cabinets; painting inside and out; building an incinerator designed to handle medical waste; installing the diesel generator; completing the well/septic/plumbing and water tower; completing and testing electric, solar and HVAC systems and installing computer data cabling; completing the roof and purchasing and installing rain barrels; and building an ebola compliant patient triage center.
We are delighted to report that when he departed on April 8 all of the projects were complete except the triage building, which will be completed next week. The new Waterfield Primary Care Center (named after a very gernerous donor family) stands on a hill, painted a rainbow of colors, reflecting every bright hope for this new community resource. With perfect timing we have received a very large donation of surplus medical furniture, equipment and supplies from Save the Children who are closing the local Ebola Treatment Facility. We are working with the Ministry of Health for certification of the facility by the end of June.
President Ellen Sirleaf, a strong supporter of our work in Kakata, is scheduled to visit tomorrow. As excited as we are about the future, there is still a long list of things we need to be fully operational in the new facility, the most critical of which is trained staff. We are happy to report that the Community Health Workers we sent to Ghana for training are doing well and should be home in time to assume new jobs in the clinic. Our focus now shifts to staffing and equipping.
Thank you for your continuing support!