We at Bread and Water for Africa® fear what would have happened to 7-year-old Usif when he was severely burned over 70 percent of his small body without the nearby Rokel Clinic where he received free treatment for his injuries.
Rev. Francis Mambu, executive director of our longtime partner Faith Healing Development Organization (FHDO) in Sierra Leone, told us the boy was brought to the clinic by his mother, an impoverished widow raising her children on her own.
“The burn extended to the chest, lower abdomen and his right and left thighs,” reported Rev. Mambu.
Initially, due to the severity of Usif’s burns, it was recommended that he be taken to a local hospital for care.
“However, the mother pleaded with the health care staff at the clinic that she had no money to pay for the treatment if she took him to the hospital,” said Rev. Mambu.
So the staff at the Rokel Clinic was sympathetic to her and her son’s plight and agreed to provide treatment for Usif, and we are pleased to report from Rev. Mambu that within about three weeks of being cared for at the clinic “the boy was completely healed.”
Thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® we were able to provide grant funding and ship medicines and medical supplies and equipment to FHDO for use to help keep the Rokel Clinic’s doors open for people like Usif and his mother who otherwise would go without treatment – even for a little boy with large burns who desperately needed medical care.
The clinic treats thousands of impoverished Sierra Leoneans every year providing basic health care services, reduces the area’s child and mother mortality rates, and provides knowledge to the community on health issues, mainly catering to the vulnerable, especially infants and children up to age 5 and women, particularly pregnant and lactating mothers.
And we shudder to think about what would have happened to little Usif if the Rokel Clinic was not there to treat him, and potentially saving his life.
“His mother was full of joy as she left the clinic with her son,” said Rev. Mambu. “She thanked the Almighty God for saving her son’s life, and also the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® for sponsoring the Rokel Clinic.”
Today, April 7, Bread and Water for Africa® supports and applauds the World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Health Day, which has been held every April 7 since 1950 to draw worldwide attention to the major importance of global health.
This year’s theme, “Building a fairer, healthier world” recognizes that “Our world is an unequal one” when it comes to health care for all around the world.
“As COVID-19 has highlighted, some people are able to live healthier lives and have better access to health services than others — entirely due to the conditions in which they are born, grow, live, work and age,” states the WHO.
“All over the world, some groups struggle to make ends meet with little daily income, have poorer housing conditions and education, fewer employment opportunities, experience greater gender inequality and have little or no access to safe environments, clean water, and air, food security and health services.
“This leads to unnecessary suffering, avoidable illness, and premature death. This is not only unfair: it is preventable.”
Sadly, this is particularly true in sub-Saharan Africa.
At Bread and Water for Africa®, we have been working for some 20 years to provide medicines and medical supplies, and equipment to our partners in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Sierra Leone who operate clinics and hospitals to treat such preventable and easily treatable illnesses — with the proper medications — and literally save lives.
And we have the greatest respect for those frontline healthcare workers, sometimes risking their own lives to save others, such as Nurse Faty who works at the Mokoba Health Center operated by our partner, Rural Youth Development Organization – Sierra Leone.
Nurse Faty told us that working at a clinic in a rural village in Sierra Leone “is at most times difficult as one is working to save lives where people lack basic health information.”
She acknowledged becoming worried as the COVID-19 outbreak began to spread in the country — not so much for herself — but for those infected with the coronavirus who were fearful of being stigmatized for coming to the clinic for the treatment they needed.
Nurse Faty told us she was constantly thinking of how she could reach out to those in isolated communities and to explain to them to not be afraid to come to the clinic as many were more afraid of being identified COVID-19 patients than they were of becoming seriously ill or even dying.
To help alleviate that fear, she told us “I organized a community information program with various stakeholders to build confidence for patients and the community as a whole.”
Today, Nurse Faty says she is “happy as the rate of COVID-19 infections is declining,” but remains determined to do her work and save lives thanks to the generosity of the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®.
Bread and Water for Africa® partner Rural Youth Development Organization – Sierra Leone (RYDO-SL) has the primary goal “to provide free and affordable health services for rural people, including community-based health education, and services to families and disadvantaged individuals.”
And, thanks to our supporters, we are proud to be able to assist them in their mission of preventing and treating illnesses and injuries and literally saving lives.
RYDO-SL partners and collaborates its work with two hospitals and nine health centers and clinics, including a COVID-19 health center in the Bo District, and in the past year, RYDO-SL reported that these hospitals and health centers have served more than 25,000 Sierra Leonean children, mothers, parents, and elders.
Among them is Nyanwo Luseni, a 40-year-old single mother living in the small village of Kortumahun, four miles from the Bumpe Health Center, who had been suffering for years from severe high blood pressure which required medical treatment.
After being diagnosed at a government hospital in 2017, she was prescribed medication which she desperately needed; however, “there was no pharmacy, and no medication available for her sickness,” RYDO – SL program manager Joseph Kobba told us.
Joseph told us the nearest pharmacy to her was in the city of Bo, and the cost of her medicine — $10 — which was more than she could ever possibly raise from the meager revenue she earns selling the produce she grows in her small vegetable garden and sells at the village market.
But, again, thanks to the supporters we were able to ship a 40-foot container filled with medical supplies and medicines — including the medicine Nyanwo needed to save her life — which was provided to her, free of charge.
“That was three months ago,” Joseph told us earlier this year,” and today her blood pressure, which is being monitored at the Bumpe Health Center, her blood pressure is normal and she is now able to again work in her garden.”
Joseph told us that the equipment necessary to monitor blood pressure is not available at most of the small village health centers in the Bo District, and that, sadly, high blood pressure, easily treatable with prescribed medication, is “reported as one of the sicknesses that show the highest death rate in the country.”
And to our supporters who made it possible to ship the life-saving medicine to RYDO-SL, Nyanwo says:
“Thanks to Bread and Water for Africa® for your timely support for helping to save my life.”