One of Mercy Hospital’s pillar programs, Medical Village Outreach, filled our Thursday morning. The concept is simple, if the people cannot get to services - take healthcare to them!
The team (minus Melody and Cynthia who left before dawn for meetings in Freetown) and Mercy staff members loaded into two 4x4 ambulances for a relatively quick ride out to Gbingboma Village where mothers and babies were already patiently waiting for us.
The Mercy staff included a Community Health Officer (CHO), maternity nurses, lab technicians, a clinician, and several delightful nursing students completing their practicum through Mercy Hospital. Our team was spread out, each assisting at a different station. David, was a master of weighing screaming infants! Vicki helped the CHO with consultation and Karen assisted in the prenatal exams. Tina helped administered malaria and HIV testing to babies and pregnant moms, while Rob rounded out the rotation helping the clinician dispense the appropriate medicines - which included some pastoral high fives and fist bumps for the young ones.
It was a busy morning, the time goes by so fast! When you first arrive, you are facing a crowd of moms and babies, it can be a bit overwhelming. But once the process starts, it really flows!
We met Amos, a baby who was first diagnosed recently through a Village Outreach with two serious hernias. Amos had surgery at Mercy Hospital and was visiting the Village Outreach for follow up. He is doing really well.
Mercy Hospital’s Village Outreach program is a literal lifeline to the community. The program visits each community in its rotation once a month, and the turnout is always high. The program's education, counseling and referral system is changing the future for the most fragile Sierra Leonean population. It was an honor for our team to briefly work alongside the Mercy staff who are responsible for this transformation.
Over in Freetown, meanwhile, Melody and Cynthia were representing HCW at the CRC and MTC Supervisory Board meeting, where big ideas were being discussed as Director Oliva Fonnie presented her vision for the CRC, including a name change to the Child Reintegration Centre! The meeting was filled with promise of the future. We problem solved, reviewed budgets, discussed old and new collaborative efforts and even witnessed seeds being sown as Bishop Yambasu challenged our friends and partners to consider a new idea for their work on the campus of UMC Bo Urban Ministries Centre. Then Olivia, Melody and Cynthia sat down for dinner with these old friends and new friends from 1MillionHome to discuss several exciting proposals, some of which will be presented to high ranking officials in the government on Friday.