The Medical Mission Committee of The Federation of Liberian Mandingo Associations in USA (FELMAUSA) extends its profound appreciations to the Executive Leadership of FELMAUSA
for entrusting us with a daunting challenge to plan and implement the Medical Mission this year. With your unwavering support and prayers, the team shipped to Liberia two 40-ft containers of donations of medications, medical supplies, books, clothes and shoes – worth over $5,000.000, and provided FREE medical, educational, and social services to many Liberians.
The FELMAUSA Medical Mission outstandingly inked our noble FELMAUSA in the history of Liberia as the first Liberian Diaspora organization to envision and execute a charitable mission solely purposed at giving back to Liberia and constructively impacting the lives of ALL LIBERIANS free of charge with absolutely no consideration for any parochial interests, tribal, religious, or socio-economic affiliations.
The Medical Mission to Liberia took place from March 15- 31, 2013. This was the second mission implemented by our noble organization and it included Ophthalmologists, Emergency Physicians, and Staff Nurses, General surgeons, Clinical Psychologist, Bio Medical Engineers, Information Technologists and local volunteers. The medical mission team of 21 people, all volunteers, covered their own individual travel expenses for the mission except for the physicians and the Executive Leadership of FELMAUSA.
An important and salient aspect of this year’s mission was the involvement of a Tennessee based International Children’s Heart Foundation (ICHF) in carrying out an assessment aimed at investigating the feasibility of training Liberian physicians how to perform heart surgeries
The medical mission accomplished 7 major goals:
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 7235 patients during the 15-day mission. People came from near and miles away to receive the free medical care. Some patients had to walk for miles to be in the line as early as 5am. Medical consultations were held at various clinics in Monsterrado , Bomi, Bassa, Lofa, Grand Gedeh Bong and Lofa counties respectively.
The patients and their health problems varied as you would normally see anywhere in a developing country. 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. In some cases, our patients were hearing their medical diagnosis for the first time. Some of the patients with previous medical history were overwhelmed with the burden of not being able to pay for their medications when they visited their private clinics/doctors because they tearfully declared they have to choose between feeding their families or buying their medications. Basically, all our patients were very appreciative of the mission and they thanked us, our donors and partners profusely over and over again after they received their free medicines.
MEDICAL OUTREACH TEAM:
Nurse Assessing a Patient
The mission was a very challenging but touching learning experience and eye opener for everyone. With a goal to see and treat as many patients as time and resources could permit, our medical practitioners – aided by volunteers and local clinic staffs – accomplished the following:
a) Successfully managed to provide free medical services to over 7235 patients at 12 major outpatient sites in 7 counties:
b) Provided free medical services at various homes and community events for patients who could not make to the
above mentioned sites due to physical disabilities and resource constraints; and
c) Screened more than 400 patients at New Georgia Clinic and Jacob Town areas for Cataracts and Glaucoma, and provided treatment to more than 300 patients that were eligible for assistance
d) As a result of the mission, The International Children Heart Foundation ( ICHF) based in Memphis, Tennessee is willing to establish a 5-10 years training program in Liberia. Part of this program will enable ICHF surgeons to fly into Liberia maximum four times to perform live surgeries on children with cardiac congenital defects.
During the course of this short but highly impacting mission, our logistical team distributed medications, medical and educational supplies/equipments, used clothing and shoes to 43 clinics, 12 hospitals in 7 counties, 3 medical and nursing institutes, 2 orphanage centers (Dicksville and VOA communities).
Through the efforts of the FELMAUSA Medical Mission, in collaboration with our partners in progress such as Direct Relief International, 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 credits go to our donors and 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.
These are recommendations for future medical missions. These recommendations are for further improvement on the success of this maiden mission.
Aggressive fundraising – The committee needs to embark on major fundraising effort to support future medical missions. Explore the feasibility of writing grant proposal to philanthropic institutions
Work schedule on the Ground- To avoid fatigue and burn-out of team members, for future medical mission, the two-week schedule be divided amongst team members. i.e. some members work the first week and the rest the second week. Avoid making team members work the entire two weeks if possible. In addition, weekend must be work-free for the team members to relax and attend to family and other personal issues.
The transfer of knowledge and expertise – All efforts must be made to co-mingle medical practitioners from the Diaspora with home-based professionals to allow an efficient exchange of knowledge, expertise and latest technology through interaction and working with the local doctors.
For future medical missions, the medications and drugs to be procured must be limited to the common sicknesses treated and observed during this mission. This would allow future planners of the mission to request for large quantity of these drugs and medications for the treatment of a bigger population. All supplies should be shipped from USA about a month prior to the arrival of the mission
Preparation on the ground: The planning committee should dispatch a representative to Liberia that will coordinate things and ensure everything is ready prior to the arrival of the mission. This will include accommodation, feeding, transportation and prospective sites. Efforts should be made to identify local partners that will be interested in implementing this worthy project with FELMAUSA.
Words of Appreciation to our Partners, Medical Team, Local Volunteers and Donors
The Federation of Liberian Mandingo Associations in USA (FELMAUSA) extends its profound appreciations to you for your highly generous contribution to the FELMAUSA Medical Mission to Liberia. With your unwavering support and prayers, we shipped to Liberia a 40-ft container of medications, medical supplies, books, clothes and shoes – worth over $5000000.00, and provided FREE medical, educational, and social services to most Liberians from March 15 – 31, 2013. Words are inadequate to express how grateful and appreciative the beneficiaries and the community are for your humanitarian contributions to their well being.
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR PARTNERS AND DONORS:
1- DIRECT RELIEF INTERNATIONAL
2- SAMARITAN PURSE
4- BROTHERS AND BROTHERS FOUNDATION
5- LONE STAR CELL FOUNDATION ( LIBERIA)
6- CHOP CARDIOLOGY
7- CHOP BIOMEDICAL AND RADIOLOGY DEPARTMENTS
8- TEMPLE UNIVERSITY MEDICAL LIBRARY
9- DREXEL UNIVERSITY MEDICAL LIBRARY
10- MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL WELFARE, REP. OF LIBERIA
11- MINISTRY OF FINANCE, RL
12- MANDINGO CAUCUS, INC., LIBERIA
Below are some images from the 2013 Felmausa’s Medical Mission to Liberia: