Over the past few weeks, all of us here at Bread and Water for Africa® have been amazed by the amount of support we have received from people like you. Your generosity not only inspires us, but gives hope to so many African families, especially children, in the midst of our current world-wide crisis.
By supporting us, you’re helping us to find solutions to the problems facing communities throughout Africa. These solutions include building water wells so that families have clean water to drink and are able wash their hands. It also means providing our partners with medicine and medical supplies.
Regarding medicine and medical supplies, last week, we shipped a 40-foot container filled with prenatal vitamins, antibiotics, and analgesics in cooperation with our longtime partner, MAP International.
“These much needed medicines will be distributed to [hospitals and clinics serving] orphans, vulnerable children, persons with disabilities, the elderly and expectant mothers in seven health facilities in Freetown, Sierra Leone,” stated MAP International.
“Our partner Bread and Water for Africa, through the United Methodist Church will help us distribute these lifesaving [medicine as soon as the shipment arrives].
“For the two billion people who don’t have access to even basic medicines, ensuring our planned shipments of essential, life-changing medicines and health supplies is of utmost importance.
“Please continue to include all the most vulnerable people in your prayers as you keep your families and loved ones safe and secure. We will all weather this as best we can.”
Although providing our partners with what they need has become more challenging, rest assured, we will continue to do everything in our power to make sure basic needs are met in the African countries where we work.
We will all get through this together.
As the coronavirus spreads across the globe, most of the headlines on the deadly pandemic have focused on China, the United States and Europe, but as the World Health Organization reported on March 12, there are more than 100 cases recorded in 11 countries in Africa.
At Bread and Water for Africa®, we are deeply concerned that virus will spread throughout the continent causing many more cases, and eventually deaths.
It is particularly worrying in light of the fact that, unlike in the U.S., Europe and China, tens of millions of Africans do not have the ability to take the most basic measure to prevent transmission of the virus – washing their hands with clean water.
Thanks to our supporters, for the past several years, Bread and Water for Africa® has been able to fund the digging of clean water wells in African countries including Cameroon, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone, and this year we are working on a major clean water development project with our partner in Uganda to provide clean water to thousands.
Among the countries with reported cases is Cameroon, where last year we were able to dig a well for the village of Abomvomba serving thousands in the remote rural village.
Today, those children, men and women have the ability to drink water without the risk of getting sick from drinking from a contaminated source, as well as being able to wash their hands, which will go a long way towards keeping them from getting the virus.
In Kenya and Uganda, countries served by Bread and Water for Africa®, thankfully there have been no reported cases, so far, and the governments are taking steps to be prepared when the day likely comes.
At Bread and Water for Africa®, we have been taking steps for years to prevent illness through contaminated water sources by providing rural African communities with wells saving tens of thousands from risking their lives every time they take a drink.
With the urgency of the virus on their doorsteps, the time is now to help Bread and Water for Africa® continue our mission to provide clean water to thousands more for drinking, cooking, bathing – and washing their hands.
(Pictured: Women and their children with nurses at the Mokoba Health Center)
Thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, some 5,600 Sierra Leoneans, including 2,200 boys and girls, received healthcare services at the newly-renovated Mokoba Health Center in the past few months alone. Last year, we called upon our supporters to help us raise the $5,500 necessary to fix the damage to the more than 20-year old building which had fallen into disrepair. There was fear that government authorities would close down the clinic, leaving the residents of the rural village of Mokoba with no healthcare services in the vicinity. But they came through, and as you can see in these photos the building is beautiful and looking as good as new.
Front view of the newly-renovated Mokoba Health Center in Sierra Leone funded by Bread and Water for Africa®
A child being tested for malaria at the Mokoba clinic.
Clinic manager Joseph Ngoniyela Kobba, right, addressed the nurses and members of the community at a recent re-dedication ceremony for the health center.
The residents of the village, particularly expecting women and mothers with young children, as well as the elderly, are especially grateful and relieved. Clinic manager Joseph Ngoniyela Kobba reported that with the rehabilitated clinic the health status of those in the village and surrounding communities has already showed remarkable improvement.
The rehabilitation of the Mokoba Health Center went on well because the community leaders coordinated the whole process including the work of youth and women to fetch water and provide bush sticks and movement of the rehabilitation materials for the contractor,” says Joseph. “Involving the Mokoba community and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in the project from the start, and facilitating their engagement enabled the rehabilitation of the health center to be carried out on time because both took responsibility for the process.
Although it practically goes without saying, Joseph noted that the “new” clinic has been received by the local community “very positively, particularly by women, community partners and the Government of Sierra Leone.” And as Joseph stated so eloquently:
A healthy rural community is a wealthy nation. Investing in women’s and children’s healthcare laid a better foundation for development and prosperity.
The Rural Youth Development Organization – Sierra Leone (RYDO-SL) operates the Mokoba Health Center in a rural region where most of the residents of the area are subsistence farmers with an average number of six children who struggle simply to survive on what they can grow.
“People living in this community are in the condition of extreme poverty, and consequently they have not [the] possibility of affording the cost of basic needs such as food, education and healthcare,” says program manager Joseph Ngoniyela Kobba, adding that 80 percent live in “absolute poverty, with income below $1 a day.”
Without access to the free clinic, parents seeking medical treatment for their children or themselves have no choice but to go untreated, or possibly worse as Joseph tells us that “for any chronic or severe diseases they have to depend solely on quacks.
“The quacks are not trained. They depend on limited indigenous knowledge.”
For those very few who have the means, and the strength, their only option is to travel long distances on rough roads to the nearest available clinic or hospital.
Joseph noted that this is especially dangerous for women about to give birth who cannot make it to a faraway medical facility “and are compelled to give birth under the open sky.”
However, Joseph is concerned the Mokoba clinic could be forced to shut down if necessary repairs are not made immediately.
“If the health center is not rehabilitated soon, the maternal mortality, child mortality and morbidity rates will begin increasing day after day,” he told us.
RYDO-SL was established in 1996 by a group of young men and women who wanted to contribute to their community through sustainable development and became officially registered as a Community Based Organization and recognized by the government of Sierra Leone.
The mission and goal of RYDO-SL is “To transform and revitalize the lives or the marginalized and oppressed populations in the communities” and “To rehabilitate a local referral facility providing emergency and immediate healthcare services for Mokoba and its environs.”
In addition to operating the Mokoba clinic, RYDO-SL promotes sustainable agriculture, women and youth empowerment, emergency relief and community rehabilitation projects.
Joseph explained that the need for a clinic is particularly critical in the Mokoba community where life expectancy, at 38 years compared with 45 years for the rest of the country (and compared to the worldwide rate of 71 years according to the World Health Organization) is the lowest in the world out of 183 countries.
The region also experiences high rates of endemic diseases, especially malaria, Typhoid fever, dysentery, yellow fever and HIV/AIDS, as well as from the Ebola virus outbreak of just a few years ago.
“Disease looms as a menace in the region,” says Joseph.
The nearest government hospital to Mokoba provides healthcare services “at a cost which is hard to afford by the rural people.
“Health is wealth, and for a community of 5,600 people if deprived of a free healthcare services will return to the service of quack treatment.
“With proper and adequate health delivery services at their disposal, the people of Mokoba and the four surrounding villages would in the long-term improve their living conditions.”
The people there had long lacked a health care facility in their community until 2000 when RYDO-SL constructed the health clinic, but now, almost 20 years later, the clinic building is in desperate need of rehabilitation, and the people it serves are in desperate need of continuing health care.
Moye had been living a happy life in the small Sierra Leonean village of Kojowolo before the deadly Ebola outbreak of 2014 tragically took the lives of his wife and their two children, leaving the 62-widower all alone in the empty house.
He managed to carry on his life without his family until one day earlier this year when he suffered from an acute respiratory tract infection.
After a few days, his condition worsened. Moye knew he needed medical attention, but he continued to suppress his pain because he had no money to pay for treatment.
“Fortunately for him, some of his friends visited him and told him about the Faith Healing Development Organization (FHDO) El Shaddai Clinic in the larger nearby village of Bunumbu and encouraged him to seek medical assistance,” explained FHDO founder and director Rev. Francis Mambu, a long-time partner of Bread and Water for Africa®.
“Moye was transported to the clinic via ‘hamoc’ (a local swing for carrying sick people) as he was unable to walk the seven miles to clinic on his own and the road to Kojowolo is not motorable,” said Rev. Mambu.
“On arrival at the clinic, he was administered antibiotics provided to FHDO by Bread and Water for Africa. After six days in the clinic, Moye recovered fully and was able to walk unaided,” added Rev. Mambu. “The head of the clinic subsequently discharged him and he happily went home rejoicing.”
As for Moye himself, he had a few words of gratitude to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® for preventing what would have been certain death.
“I am now feeling perfectly well with no more difficulty in breathing. Thanks to the FHDO clinic and the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® for saving my life.”