News from The Informer (Monrovia)

Liberia: 10,000 to Benefit From New Clinic in Kokoya District
D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh
7 April 2010

The Kokoya Administrative District, Bong County, is poised to host a modern clinic that will serve at least 10,000 people for the first time in the district’s history.

Thousands of Liberians living in the district do not have any health facilities to run to during emergencies or when they get sick.

Scores of them die from common curable diseases, not to mention women who die from labor.

The district has never have a health facility and people in need of medication have to hike for at least 25 to 30 kilometer to see a nurse, physician assistant or a medical doctor.

Those who are too old or have no relative to cater to them are left to die in their homes, when they get sick or when traditional herbs fail to heal them, an elderly residents claim.

However, the malady will soon be over, bringing smiles on the faces of the people, when the Rock Crusher Clinic is built and open for service few months hence.

Being constructed at the cost of a little over US$71,000, the Clinic will contain eight rooms for screening, consulting, testing and lab, among others.

It is being built with the County Development Fund as injected in the Bong’s County Development Agenda, the County’s health program and as part of the Millennium Development Village project, officials say.

Touring the recently on a two-day visit to the county, the Deputy Coordinator of the Liberia Reconstruction Development Committee (LRDC), James Kollie, expressed delight.

Mr. Kollie described the project as a “positive step” towards meeting the health needs of the people and realizing the goals of the CDA.

As part of decentralizing development, each county, under the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led government has its listed development priories – the CDA, as desired by the people themselves.

Mr. Kollie and officials of the LRDC – a bureau seated in the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs responsible to monitor implementation of the PRS – initiated the tour and meetings to evaluate the impacts of the CDF on the people of Bong.

Besides, the visit which took the team to Rock Crusher was also intended to identify challenges in implementing projects under the CDF, and to get feedback from the people on what should be done in the next planning stage that will ward off most of the challenges currently being experienced.

“The construction of this clinic and the idea behind the construction of this clinic came from the County Development Fund of the Kokoya District development action plan,” Mr. Francis Kempeh, a UNDP county development consultant assigned at the Liberia’s Millennium Village project in Kokoya District, said.

“It is indeed a priority by the community…they have been cooperating with the workers and we hope that they can take ownership of it,” Kempeh, who lead the LRDC delegation to the site, disclosed.

Construction started last October and will be completed in the next couple of months.

“There is no clinic or health facility around here. People get health services about 25 to 30 kilometer away, and the construction of this clinic here will bring great relief to thousands of people,” the UNDP consultant said.

There are three administrative districts (Boinsen, Tukpahblee and Kokoya) in Kokoya Statutory District, with a population of 22, 826, according to the 2008 National Housing and Population Census.

Both Boinsen and Tukpahblee have health facilities. With the completion of the one under construction in Rock Crusher, the statutory district will have been at least served with some level of health care delivery.

The development would be registered as a score under the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) – the Government’s overall vision and major strategies for moving toward rapid, inclusive and sustainable growth and development during the period 2008-2011.

The PRS is being implemented between April 1, 2008 and June 30, 2011 at the cost of $1.61bn with four major pillars including enhancing Peace and National Security, Governance and the Rule of Law, Economic Revitalization and Rehabilitation of Infrastructures and Delivery of Basic Social Services.

Health care and delivery is under the fourth pillar: Rehabilitation of Infrastructures and Delivery of Basic Social Services. Contact: 231 6 586 531;

Copyright © 2010 The Informer. All rights reserved.



50-million dollar contract signed in Health sector     
Written by Robert J. Clarke, Jr.    
Wednesday, 08 July 2009 

USAID and government through the Health Ministry have signed over 50 million US Dollars contracts to cater to the country’s healthcare delivery system.

USAID is the United States Agency for International Development.

The contracts are under USAID’s Rebuilding   Basic Health Services program.

USAID Mission Director Pamela White who signed for her agency said the contract would initially cover a five-year period.

Madam White told Star Radio the five year program would seek to improve operations and ensure delivery of the ministry’s basic package for health.

It would be implemented in some one hundred fourteen clinics in seven counties.

The counties include Bomi, Bong, Grand Cape Mount, Lofa, Montserrado, Nimba, and River Gee.

The USAID Boss said the initiative represents a critical new step in the reconstruction of the health system of Liberia that would benefit over one million people.

Deputy Health Minister Bernice Dahn who signed for government thanked USAID for the initiative.


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Strike action hits international NGO  
Written by Robert J. Clarke, Jr.    
Tuesday, 21 October 2008 

Workers of the International Medical Corps have embarked on a strike action simultaneously in Monrovia and Lofa County in demand of benefits.

The IMC workers told Star Radio since they started working with the organization over four years ago management has failed to meet their needs.

The workers named medical, transportation, housing and severance benefits as some of their needs not being met by the IMC management.

The IMC workers represented by their spokespersons accused their management of ignoring their plights.

Mr. Stephen Zor and Darr Gbainmo said the strike action would continue until the IMC management meets their demands.

Our reporter who visited the IMC Head office in Monrovia saw no work being done as the workers were all sitting outside supinely.

In Lofa County, workers of the IMC abandoned their assignments, leaving health centers operated by the group in limbo.

When contacted, the Finance Manager of IMC, Briggs Kallon told our reporter the organization’s Country Director, Dr. Sham Alam was not prepared to talk to journalists. 


Two men, one mission
October 17, 2008 6:00 AM

Mike Cambra, 55, of Rochester was born and raised in New Bedford. Joseph Deranamie, 51, was born worlds away, in a small impoverished village called Duahyu Town in the West African country of Liberia. They are close enough in age to have been schoolmates, but neither one knew of the other’s existence. They could not have foreseen that fate would involve them both in a health-care project in the war-ravaged country Mr. Deranamie had once called home.

This past July, Mr. Deranamie and Mr. Cambra traveled to the site of a new clinic that is being built in the town of Duazohn, Liberia, by Mission to Liberia, a non-profit charitable organization they and several other SouthCoast and Worcester residents and clergy established to bring much needed health care to Liberia.

Mr. Cambra exudes energy and commitment as he talks about his recent experiences. He sits on the edge of his chair and animatedly gestures as he speaks about Liberia’s dire poverty and its lack of health care and medical supplies.

“We visited one very poor area where the huts are built in the mangrove swamps on land the people filled in themselves. The simplest medications and staples are not available to them. Joseph’s niece lives in a small hut with 27 other people, 15 of them little children. It’s heartbreaking,” says Mr. Cambra.

He displays photos of the new clinic with the enthusiasm of a proud new parent.

“We chose Duazohn for the clinic because it’s on the main road that runs between the international airport and the capital, one of the few paved roads in the area. The site is well situated for our distribution efforts and is easily accessible to the local population,” he explains. “The first floor is almost complete now, and we’ll soon begin construction of the second and third floors.”

Duazohn is a small town about 55 miles south of Monrovia, Liberia’s capital. It has no electricity or running water. The surrounding roads are often muddy dirt tracks that, in the rainy season, are nearly impassable. The people are desperately poor and health care is all but nonexistent. The area, and all of Liberia, was engulfed in civil war after a military coup in 1980. A peace agreement in August 2003 finally ended hostilities, but during the war years both the country and its people bled. Joseph Deranamie and his family were swept up in that chaotic vortex.

It was just before Christmas 1989 when rebels launched a failed coup that would ignite civil war. Mr. Deranamie, a naturally soft-spoken man, becomes visibly emotional when he says that he thought his family’s house in a company-owned plantation compound was the safest place to be during the turmoil. He, his family and several of his neighbors decided to stay there rather than try to escape. Safety was an illusion. It fled along with the government troops when the rebel forces arrived at the compound.

“The rebels began going house to house to search for loyalists. They pulled me out of my house and started to torture me. When my 2-year-old son saw me lying on the ground, he ran to me. The rebels shot him, killed him right in front of my eyes,” he says, then pauses, his voice momentarily catching on the memory.

“I was taken to jail and was to be executed. As I was digging my own grave down by the river, one of the rebels, a former schoolmate, recognized me and saved my life,” he continues. “He let me escape. I lived in the bushes and in refugee camps in the Ivory Coast and in Ghana for the next 10 years.”

Eventually, through the Red Cross, Mr. Deranamie was reunited with several members of his family.

In February 2000, he emigrated to the United States and ultimately settled in the Worcester area. He immediately began to collect used shoes and clothing to send back to those left behind.

Why shoes?

“People in the camps didn’t have them. They would share shoes because there weren’t enough to go around,” recalls Mr. Deranamie. “I asked the pastor of my church if she would help me collect shoes to send to them.”

His pastor did help. The shoes began to pile up, hundreds and hundreds of pairs that he and two Lutheran Church congregations in the Worcester area collected.

They had the shoes. Now they needed a way to get them to Liberia.

Fate stepped in to bring Joseph Deranamie and Mike Cambra together.

In late winter 2005, Mike and his wife Ann attended the funeral of a friend. Dartmouth resident Ann Fournier was also there. Having learned about Mr. Deranamie through Worcester clergy, Ms. Fournier shared the story about Joseph and his shoes with the Cambras.

The Cambras owned a shipping company, New England Groupage, in Holbrook. After they lost their youngest son in an automobile accident in January 1999, they established the Greg Cambra Foundation in his name to provide local scholarships and to support a variety of other community projects. Mr. Deranamie’s story sparked their interest.

“We met Joseph in our office in the spring of 2005 and were so moved by his story that we told Joseph, not only would we send the shoes he had collected, but that if he collected enough clothing, shoes and medicine, we would send a 40-foot container to Liberia,” says Mr. Cambra. “We also agreed to pay for Joseph to take the goods there himself so that the goods got to the people for whom they were intended. Three months later, Joseph called to tell me he was ready for the container.”

In May 2006, the container, filled with medicine, clothes, shoes and a van to reach the outlying areas, left for Liberia, followed by Mr. Deranamie, who helped distribute its contents.

When Mr. Deranamie returned to the United States, he spoke about the preventable illnesses that ran rampant in the villages and what a huge difference a medical clinic in the area would make.

“After we saw Joseph passing out those shoes on a video, we just knew that couldn’t be the end of it,” recalls Ms. Fournier, a member of the Mission to Liberia board of directors. “We could do more. Our focus then became the building of a clinic. We decided to form a non-profit organization to facilitate that in September 2006.”

That fall, ground was broken for the clinic. FedEx donated furniture. Morton Hospital in Taunton donated medical equipment. The clinic was becoming a reality and a second 40-foot container was filling with medical supplies and staples to be shipped to Liberia.

The contents of that second container were distributed by Mr. Deranamie and Mr. Cambra this past July.

Realizing that sustainable health care is as important as medical supplies, Mission to Liberia has now expanded its goals to include aid to the local university.

“We don’t want to just address these people’s immediate medical needs. We want to help provide a sustainable solution to the area’s overwhelming health-care problems,” explains Mr. Cambra. “The University of Liberia School of Pharmacy and General Medicine lacks everything. They have no textbooks, no microscopes, just a blackboard and old wooden desks. If we help the university train enough local doctors, pharmacists and nurses, they can go out and serve many more people than we would be able to help. That is our next goal.”

Donations are the life blood of Mission to Liberia.

“All of the board’s members are volunteers. If you donate to this project you know exactly where your funds are going and how they are being used. One hundred percent of every dollar that is donated to Mission to Liberia goes to Liberia to address the people’s health needs,” Mr. Cambra says.

For more information, call Ann Cambra at (508) 763-2688.


Story posted by Star Radio…Equip-Liberia graduates 65 ‘health ambassadors’ Print
Written by Emmanuel Broh   
Tuesday, 12 August 2008

A non-governmental organization, Equip-Liberia has graduated 65 trainees known as Health Ambassadors in Doe and Boe Administrative Districts, Nimba County.
The head of the organization’s Protection Department told Star Radio the fifteen-month exercise is aimed at sanitation and HIV/AIDS. 

Mr. Philip Pleh-won said the health ambassadors were trained about malaria, diarrhea and other preventable diseases. 

Mr. Pleh-won said those trained would go into the communities to train people by sharing the knowledge they have acquired. 

According to him, the community health ambassadors would also help to encourage community members to develop initiatives which Equip-Liberia would finance. 

He said the organization would facilitate community development initiatives through food items and machinery that would be needed to implement such initiative.


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