Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

Keeping Our Promise to Children in Liberia

By: Graciela Salvador-Davila*

The Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children initiative, affirmed at General Conference 2016 in Portland, Ore., calls us to reach 1 million children with lifesaving interventions by 2020. Today, we are sharing several stories that demonstrate the tremendous impact your Global Health Advance #3021770 gifts make in helping us fulfill our promise to children in Liberia.

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Janjay and her daughter Mardea on the Motorbike. Photo credit: Mr. Andrew Tarr

Fourteen years of civil war, followed by the devastating Ebola epidemic, have left Liberia’s physical infrastructure, including roads, in a disastrous state. In the face of life-threatening illness, entire communities of subsistence farmers are cut off from health care because there are no connecting roads to the cities where the hospitals are located. Mothers have no choice but to place their sick children on their backs and walk until they can get help. Janjay did just that. She walked several miles to the closest United Methodist Church health facility, the Camphor Mission Clinic, when her daughter Mardea became sick with a fever. 

Janjay shared that the Camphor Clinic’s motorbike, provided through the support of the Abundant Health Initiative, gave her child a chance to survive. 

She said, “I put my sick child, Mardea, on my back and walked to Camphor’s clinic. Upon arrival, the clinic staff took my child from me, took her temperature, examined her, and immediately prepared oral rehydration fluid. Thereafter, the nurse quickly referred us to the government hospital in Buchanan. The nurse tried to call for an ambulance, but the network was bad and the call did not go through. 

“The nurse in charge immediately called for the motorbike. I got on the bike with my child on my lap. The nurse told the motorbike rider, ‘Take it easy and go straight to the government hospital.’ After an hour, we arrived at the hospital and we presented the referral paper in the emergency room. Within three hours Mardea was transfused and started gaining strength. The next morning Mardea was stable, and on the third day we were sent home.” Janjay continued, “On the way to my village, I passed by Camphor’s to share the good news with the staff and thank them for saving my daughter. Mardea survived because of the Suzuki motorbike at the Camphor Mission Clinic. I thank those who provided this for us so our children can live.” 

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Bishop Innis testing out the new Ganta Hospital vehicle. Photo credit: Mr. Alfred Nehlar

“Obstetric emergencies are normal occurrences at Ganta United Methodist Hospital in Liberia,” says Hospital Administrator Patrick Mantor. Women in crisis are frequently stranded in surrounding villages, where reliable transportation is rarely available. Many endure the ride on rough roads where motorbikes often compromise the safety of the unborn child and the mother. Through the Health Systems Strengthening program of Global Health, Ganta Hospital now has a standby vehicle for maternal emergencies. 

When Loupu went into labor, she had to walk a couple of miles with her family to the nearest cell-phone access, to place a call for the Ganta emergency vehicle. At the peak of rainy season, Loupu’s village is difficult to reach due to very bad road conditions. A trip on a motorbike would not have been possible, as much of the road was covered by water and only a four-wheel-drive vehicle could traverse the road. 

“Thankfully,” Mantor says, “we now have a four-wheel-drive vehicle at Ganta and we got to Loupu in time to get her to the hospital where her baby girl was born safely. We thank God for the gift of a vehicle that helps us to provide such service to our communities. In Liberia, we say, ‘God is good all the time and all the time God is good.’” 

Become a part of the vital work of reaching 1 million children with lifesaving interventions today by giving to the Global Health Advance #3021770.

Learn more about the Abundant Health Initiative.
See your gifts at work here.
Abundant health resources here
Sign up for the 10,000 church challenge

*Graciela Salvador-Davila, is the Health System Strengthening Manager for Global Health, General Board of Global Ministries.