The Mercy outreach team identified a toddler with inguinal hernia. Little Saidu was transported to Mercy Hospital where surgery was successfully performed by Lawrence Kargbo, surgical health officer, to correct the condition. Saidu made a full recovery under the care of Mercy staff and was released to his grateful mother.
About 3-5% of healthy, full-term babies may be born with an inguinal hernia and one third of infancy and childhood hernias appear in the first 6 months of life. In premature infants, the incidence of inguinal hernia is substantially increased, up to 30%. Children in Sierra Leone and other parts of the developing world may be more prone to conditions like inguinal hernia due to conditions that may be caused by inadequate maternal and infant care.
Filmmakers from 1MILLIONHOME recently visited Sierra Leone to interview and film families who have gone through the process of reuniting with their children who were previously in residential care. Helping Children Worldwide and 1MILLIONHOME are collaborating to create videos, print resources, and workshops to train child-focused organizations on how to move away from institutional care and towards family care for all children.
"There were some really hard stories, and I personally learned so much more about the challenges of on-going family care in the midst of extreme poverty," filmmaker Leigh Sarti said about the filming process. CRC Program Manager David Musa and other staff accompanied the crew on all home visits, serving as interpreters for the children and families.
At age 22, Ibrahim, who was recently enrolled in the Child Reintegration Centre, is much older than the typical new student. Program Manager David Musa explains that "Ibrahim's case was exceptional." When Ibrahim was a teenager, his mother, the family's breadwinner, suddenly died. His father was very ill and unable to provide for his son. Ibrahim found himself alone and without the means to stay enrolled in school. He dropped out and began working as a commercial motorcycle driver to support himself, ferrying passengers in between villages.
Eventually, Ibrahim moved to Bo to live with an uncle, but was still unable to afford school fees, as his uncle was caring for many family members (a common scenario in Sierra Leone.) As the years went by, Ibrahim never lost his desire to get an education. He heard about the CRC's support for impoverished children and requested help. In spite of his age the CRC offered Ibrahim enrollment, and he is currently attending YMCA Kandeh Secondary School.
"Based on his story, we decided to enroll him," David says. "He took the BECE but his grade was not that good, so he is taking the exam again this academic year." The CRC is determined to help Ibrahim finish his education, and against all odds, he is determined to succeed.
After many months of planning, shopping, and preparing, the highly anticipated SAC Christmas parties were held on Thursday and Friday before Christmas, to the delight of the 600 children and youth enrolled as Child Reintegration Centre students. The parties were a fun time of socializing, feasting, playing, and dancing for the kids. The youngest children were accompanied by their parents. The children were treated to a bountiful Christmas lunch, and watched a Nativity play enacted by fellow students. Before going home, every student received a small gift of clothing, toiletries, and candy to share with family. The annual Christmas party is the highlight of the year for the CRC students, whose families struggle from poverty.
A world of thanks to the amazing CRC staff for your hard work putting this party together, and to our kind and generous sponsors for making the parties possible. You are so loved and appreciated by the CRC students and their families.
Child Reintegration Centre student Mohamed Kamara underwent a successful bilateral hernia surgery at Mercy Hospital. While Mohamed was recovering, the CRC provided additional support to the family, including a cash gift and a 25 kg bag of rice.
Children in the developing world often suffer from hernias, which may be the result of a congenital weakness in the abdominal muscles, or caused by severe coughing that leads to increased abdominal pressure. Left untreated, umbilical and inguinal hernias can lead to severe health complications in children.
Mohamed attends St. Andrews Secondary School, where he is in class SS3. Mohamed is currently not sponsored. If you would like to sponsor this deserving student, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To celebrate a year of saving lives in one of the most medically under-served regions in the world, the dedicated staff of Mercy Hospital held a festive End of Year party on the grounds of the hospital. The staff shared a bounteous potluck dinner and shared memories of the past year.
Hospital Administrator Jinnah Lahai and Head Matron Augusta Kpanabaum presented each of the staff members with a certificate of thanks for their good work serving vulnerable children and families throughout the year.
As the year draws to a close, Mercy has much to celebrate, and we are grateful for the hundreds of lives they have saved in 2019, through hospital services and village outreach.
The Child Reintegration Centre (CRC) organized a family strengthening workshop for the three external areas served by CRC case management, Fengehun, Manguama, and Pujehun. Counselors Victor Kanu and Assiatu Tarawally tackled some tough topics, including parent-child attachment and teen pregnancy prevention. The event was attended by 96 participants, including teachers, parents, and students. After the workshop, lunch was served to the participants, and some of the children had the opportunity to write to their sponsors.
The Child Reintegration Centre (formerly Child Rescue Centre) held an Attachment Theory workshop organized by CRC counselors Emmanuel and Assiatu. Attachment theory addresses the creation of strong, healthy emotional bonds between parents and their children.
Fifty parents of CRC students were invited to attend the conference, where they learned strategies for strengthening the bond with their children and developing healthy family relationships.
The typical child enrolled in a CRC program has experienced the deprivation of extreme poverty and many have been traumatized by losing parents and other family members. The counselors coached the parents in communication skills, and encouraged them to develop open and honest dialogue with their children to help them heal from trauma or emotional distress.
CRC parent Agnes Boma said it has been difficult for her to develop a close relationship with her teenage daughter, and she appreciated what she learned at the workshop. "From what I learnt from the workshop I will create a bond between myself and my daughter," she said. "I will encourage her to confide in me."
When Fatmata, age 22, came to her appointment at Mercy Hospital's prenatal clinic, she had a very high fever and was vomiting. Diagnosed with severe malaria, she was admitted and treated with anti-malarial injections. By the end of the day, Fatmata was much improved and was released from care.
Pregnant women are at high risk of dying from the complications of severe malaria. Malaria may also cause spontaneous abortion, premature delivery, or stillbirth, and is responsible for about one third of preventable low birth weight babies.
Shortly after being discharged, Fatmata returned to the hospital in labor and delivered a healthy baby girl. "I especially appreciate the maternity staff for their hard work," Fatmata said. The patient says she chose Mercy because she had attended the hospital's prenatal clinic for her previous pregnancies.
Mariatu, age 37, collapsed into unconsciousness and was brought to the hospital by her family, where she was diagnosed with severe anemia caused by malaria. She received a blood transfusion of two whole units and antimalarial drugs. Mariatu made a full recovery and was released. "Words cannot express how happy I am," Mariatu says. "I really appreciate the team work."
Sierra Leone has one of the highest rates of malaria infection in the world. The country's entire population is at risk of the disease and it is one of the leading causes of death and illness. Young children are particularly susceptible to infection, illness and death from malaria, which contributes to close to twenty percent of child mortality. The Ministry of Health and Sanitation has committed to reducing new cases of the disease up to 40 percent by 2020, which will require dedicated action from government, partners, health workers, and communities.
The CRC is proud to announce that Finance Manager Lucy Jusu had graduated with a Bachelors degree in Accounting and Finance from the Royal College of Theology and Administration, under KEISIE International University.
Lucy is an original CRC employee, having joined the staff in 2000 as an administrative assistant. In 2014, Lucy was promoted to Business Manager, and once more promoted to Finance Manager in 2018.
In 2016, Lucy was awarded a Ginny Wagner scholarship to pursue a university degree, named for the former Executive Director of Helping Children Worldwide.
"Dreams die slowly when opportunities are absent," Lucy says. "This was the dream I had but the realization of this heavenly dream was actualized by the divine intervention of the Ginny Wagner Scholarship Program.”