Research shows that when residential children's programs provide ample opportunities for families and children to spend time together prior to reunification, the transition to living together and the reintegration of the child into the community is much more successful.
Efforts to increase interaction between residential children and their 'forever families' have recently stepped up a notch at the CRC. Beginning in May, parents/future caregivers of the children have been invited to participate in two regularly scheduled CRC activities each month (such as Family Fun Time, Sports, or Game Night for example). On Wednesday, May 31, family members attended the CRC's regular Wednesday devotions. "It was so wonderful to see children and their families attending our Wednesday devotions. They are all happy that they will be going to see their families and friends around time as planned," said Director Mohamed Nabieu. "Children, families and staff members were all hugging and getting to know each other."
Mercy awarded certificates to the most dedicated staff members for the past two months -- hospital matron Sister Augusta for April, and driver Solomon Alieu for May.
Sister Augusta was awarded as the most dedicated staff because she is very hardworking, yet always takes the time to counsel staff and help them when issues arise. Most of the staff, especially the younger nurses, see her as a mother figure. She is passionate about her job and always goes above and beyond to help others. Despite her busy schedule (she started her Masters of Public Health classes this week as a recipient of the Ginny Wagner Scholarship), she still finds time to cook Abu Bakarr his favorite meals.
Solomon Alieu works very hard and makes an effort to do things outside of his job description. When he takes the team on outreaches, he always helps load and unload the vehicle, even though this is not something he is required to do. He also makes sure to keep the vehicle very clean, but never asks Mercy to provide soap or other cleaning supplies, taking the cost out of his salary instead.
The Child Rescue Centre has some new residents - chickens! With the advice of Njala Agricultural Professor, Roland Suluku, and under the supervision of Head Gardener, Kinnie Earnest, the CRC has added a chicken coop to the CRC Garden program. Twenty laying hens were recently installed in the brand new coop, and are busily supplying the CRC with eggs. Roland provided advice and counsel on the size of the coop, the number of chickens (the coop will ultimately hold as many as 40, but the CRC opted to start small with just 20 hens to start) and he vaccinated each of the hens. Roland also spent time training Kinnie and CRC staff and children in the care and feeding of these new CRC residents. Under the careful supervision of Kinnie and the CRC staff, the children will participate in helping to care for these chickens.
According to Roland, the hens will begin laying eggs by next month, and can lay eggs for 18 months consecutively. The eggs will be used as food at the CRC, and extras will be shared with families enrolled in the microfinance program who may benefit from the eggs, either as food or as a business. As a part of the partnership between Mercy and CRC, patients at Mercy who may need extra protein might also benefit from the eggs. The children are learning a lot about agriculture through the CRC Garden.
On Tuesday, May 30, Mercy had a send-off ceremony for seven staff retiring at the end of May. Reverend Charley and Hospital Administrator Jinnah Lahai gave speeches praising these staff members for their years of service.
Sister Taiwo and Comfort Beah have been at Mercy since it opened in 2007, and have seen Mercy through many changes.
Three of the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) aides, Comfort Beah, Mary Jabaty, and Josephine Simbo, as well as Sister Taiwo, have worked hard to ensure that throughout the 10 years of Mercy’s existence they have performed hundreds of deliveries and never had a single maternal death. Additionally, the maternity team has been a very active component of the Outreach Department, often leading the outreaches as well as holding prenatal clinics at Mercy multiple times per week.
Morrison Amara, the Community Health Officer (CHO) in charge of the malaria program traveled on numerous outreaches during his time at Mercy, as well as ably assisting the doctor in the small operating room doing hernia repairs.
Sidi Saffa, the Pharmacy Technician, had become very well known as always being the first staff member to arrive everyday. He was always in his office early, sometimes as early as 6:00 AM in order to organize his workspace and get the pharmacy ready for the day. He underwent an operation in December and was still back at work within a minimal amount of time, despite being offered paid sick leave.
Agnes John, the Laundress was solely in charge of all of the laundering needed by Mercy, all done by hand, of course! Agnes washed all the bed linens, scrubs, and various other necessities needed to keep the hospital running and hygienic.
Mercy Hospital and HCW are deeply grateful to these staff for their years of service and dedication. We pray for them to find peace and enjoyment in their retirement, and wish them well for the future.
After working diligently for weeks, Mercy has finally been able to secure Plumpy'nut from the government to help address Abu-Bakarr's specific nutritional needs. There was a lot of red tape but now we have a three month supply. This is significant because the government typically only provides Plumpy'nut to malnourished children under five years of age, and Abu Bakarr is 10. He eats 6 packets per day (500 kcal each), in addition to the Sierramix supplement he has been receiving since arriving at Mercy through its nutrition program, and three healthy, protein-rich meals a day provided to him from the CRC kitchen. He continues to improve day by day.