The FELMAUSA Medical Mission to Liberia took place from May 14- 28, 2011. This was the first mission embarked by our noble organization and it included Ophthalmologists, Staff Nurses, General surgeons, Bio Medical Engineers, Information Technologists and local volunteers. The medical mission team of 15 people, all volunteers, including the Executive Leadership of FELMAUSA, covered their own individual travel expenses for the mission.
The medical mission accomplished four major goals:
> Diagnosed, treated and managed each patient appropriately.
> Educated patients on disease prevention and healthy lifestyles.
> Dispensed medications to underserved population that could not afford.
> Assessed health related needs of our people and the health facilities
The mission was a learning experience and eye opener for everyone. It is difficult to describe some of the conditions which our medical professionals encountered. The facilities and equipment available to us required inventiveness, compassion and flexibility. Our goal was to assist everyone as much as we were able under the resource-constraints of the practice settings. We were also cognizant that there was no way we could see all the crowds that gathered to see us daily. Surprisingly, our team of professionals, assisted by local volunteers and clinic staff members were up to the challenge of seeing approximately 3,000 patients during the 10-day mission. People came from near and miles away to receive the free medical care. Some patients had to walk
from Battery Factory to Jacob’s Town Clinic to be in the line as early as 5am. Medical consultations were held at various mosques in Gardnersville, Monrovia and at a local church, United Methodist Church at Ashmun Street. There were also house calls in Sinkor and Gardnersville areas for patients that could not travel to the clinic sites.
The patients and their health problems varied as you would normally see anywhere in a developing country. A cursory look at the statistics gathered showed ample evidence of poverty, economic and structural inequities. There were several cases of undiagnosed medical conditions and non-compliance with treatment due to inadequate or lack of health education and financial resources.
What was so shocking was the percentage of hypertensive emergencies. Reports emanated from the various clinic sites revealed an astonishing high blood pressure level of the patients. The blood glucose meter readings also recorded breakthrough levels (250+ mg/dl) for diabetic patients. In some cases, our patients were hearing their medical diagnosis for the first time. Some of the patients with previous history were overwhelmed with the burden of not being able to pay for their medications because they tearfully declared they have to choose between feeding their families or buying their medications. This is what got me and members of the team crying throughout the mission. Basically, all our patients were very appreciative of the mission and they thanked us profusely over and over again after they received their free medicines.
Through the efforts of the FELMAUSA Medical Mission, lives were changed and many lives were saved as a result. Everyone who contributed and participated in this year’s mission can be proud of the accomplishments and successes of which they were all an integral part. Without a doubt, the credit goes to the team members who worked tirelessly during the long days in less than ideal conditions, never complained, and remained upbeat with positive attitudes in providing unconditional care and concern for each and every patient seen in the clinic.
Finally, please join me in saluting our strong partners and friends in progress, Dr. Nettie Johnson, Roberta Williams, Johnette Todey and Ben Weefa for their patriotism and far sightedness. Words are inadequate to express how grateful and appreciative the patients and the community are for their services. This mission would not have been possible without these individuals.
Below are some images from the 2011 Medical Mission to Liberia: