A thousand Liberians received free healthcare services recently in Liberia by a medical team from the U.S. The services were rendered in the Borough of New Krutown, Monrovia, Liberia and included the treatment of malaria, typhoid, hypertension, diabetes, and cold.
The seven-member team is of the organization of the Mighty Children of Jesus Christ based in Yemassee, North Carolina, America. They gave the services in collaboration with the Abbosso Apostolic Faith Church located in the borough. The church compound was packed with patients; women, men, and children from New Krutown and other parts of Monrovia. The number was about two hundred in the first two days, but it increased significantly to approximately one thousand in the next four days when the news got around. The team members were Doctor Edward McNeil, head of mission, Marcus Bostic, Fannie Elizabeth Hamilton, Moji Oguntoyinbo, Arneal Thompson, Francenia Ellis, and Juraee McNeil. They provided the services in late September to early October this year. They worked from the morning to the evening and sometimes without taken lunch. "We were overwhelmed", said a team member.
Medical services are crucial in Liberia, a West African country founded in 1820 for the settlement of American Black ex-slaves. There are not many clinics and hospitals in the country. "Government officials and the elite traveled abroad for personal health services, giving little attention to the healthcare sector in Liberia, particularly in the rural areas, where the majority population has no access to basic health service. There are two major public hospitals in the country. They were built by foreign governments". The country has "one doctor per 100,000 people", and has "about one healthcare worker for every 3,400 people", according to reports before the Ebola virus. Good medicines are scarce and health services are costly, particularly for the poor. Because of the inadequacy of the health system, thousands of Liberians died when Ebola entered the country in 2014. New Krutown was one of the areas where many people died of the disease. The borough is considered the largest slum community in urban Liberia and has a population of about 75,000, mostly youth, "below 25 years old", and over 75% of the labor force is unemployed, as stated in a published document.
The medical team was able to come to Liberia through the effort of the church overseer, Pastor Samuel Nugba when he visited America over a month ago. While in the US, he contacted Doctor Edward McNeil, the team leader mentioned earlier, and informed him of the needs of medical services in Liberia and invited the team to come to Liberia. Dr. McNeil is a member of the United Church of Jesus Christ (Apostolic) of which the Abbosso Church is an affiliate.
The team coming to Liberia was timely when healthcare workers in the country were on a go-slow action, said Pastor Nugba, adding, "I call on the government to prioritize healthcare to avoid any reoccurrence health workers go-slow again". Dr. McNeil said. "It was an opportunity to come to Liberia to share the love and the gospel of Jesus Christ through healthcare services to the less fortunate Liberians". His organization spent thousands of dollars on medications in addition to the cost of airfares to Liberia.
In giving the vote of thanks, a church elder, Dagbayonoh Kiah Nyanfore, expressed gratitude to the team saying, "we are grateful to you and your team Dr. McNeil. You and your team have witnessed one of Liberia's greatest realities, the need for health services. Many of our people die of common illnesses. Some of the medicines in the market are not updated and are fake drugs. Your work is a living testimony. We hope when you return to America, you will tell the Liberian story and your services will inspire others to follow suit. Convey to your organization and the church our deepest appreciation". The elder also thanked the Abbosso Church congregation for their cooperation given to the team.
The Abbosso Apostolic Faith Church is one of the four original churches in the borough of New Krutown when the town was established in 1945. The church was founded by the Late Bishop Welleh Pekro Gray, a Liberian who settled in the US. The church operates the Bishop L.J. Barnes Mission School and plans to build a clinic in Monrovia thereby helping meet the educational and healthcare needs of Liberia.
The church can be reached at [email protected]