February 6, 2015
Dear Partners and Friends,
Greetings from Ganta United Methodist Hospital family in Ganta, Liberia, West Africa. I pray you are well.
MEET THE INTERIM ADMINISTRATOR
My name is Nora Keah-Sandi and I am serving as Interim Hospital Administrator at the Ganta United Methodist Hospital since Feb. 1, 2015. My colleague and friend, Brother Victor Doolakeh Taryor, is my predecessor and the one whom many of you know. You may have received his letter introducing me to you. Brother Taryor sends his thanks and appreciation to all of you and ask that you keep him in prayer as he seeks divine direction in discerning another phase of service to the people of Liberia.
This is my 17th year of service at Ganta Hospital. I came to work for the hospital as a Nurse-Aide on April 15,
- By God’s grace, and through His provision, I entered the UMC Winifred J. Harley School of Nursing, graduated in 2002 and began working as a floor nurse. Today, through God’s grace coupled with scholarship support from my missionary friend and mentor, Sue Porter, as well as partners and the United Methodist Church of Liberia, I hold
a Master’s Degree in Nursing Administration since June 2013. I am happy, excited and humbled to be part of this hospital and to play a leadership role in its healthcare efforts.
I have served in several supervisory/administrative positions at the Ganta United Methodist Hospital and Winifred J. Harley College of Health Sciences including: Pediatric and Obstetric Wards Supervisor, Clinical Supervisor, Diabetes Pilot Project Manager, Director of Nursing Services, Professor in the Winifred J. Harley College of Health Sciences where I taught Nursing Math, Psychiatric Nursing, OB-GYN, and Intravenous Therapy.
Our workday begins at 8:00 am each morning in our Chapel where staff, patients, and visitors celebrate God’s goodness and grace. We sing, give testimonies and share inspirational messages of hope, courage and faith. For me, our chapel service provides the spiritual nourishment to begin my day.
The hospital is a very busy place. Ours is one of only three hospitals in Nimba County, serving a population of about 600,000, including villages along the Liberia/Guinea/Ivory Coast border. We are a major referral center with over ninety years of experience providing affordable health care for rural subsistence farming families.
We are located in the town of Ganta, with a population of 50,000.
We have a wonderful, resourceful staff of over 200 persons including medical, administrative support, service support, grounds maintenance, and general maintenance. The following treatment areas/services are provided: Out Patient/Ambulatory Care Clinic, Dental Clinic, Eye Clinic, Diabetes Clinic, HIV/Aids Clinic, Community-Based Primary Health Care, Orthopedic Clinic, Surgical Services, X-ray and Ultrasonography services, Emergency Triage, Laboratory, Prenatal Clinic, Labor and Delivery and In-patient Wards.
Together, guided by our UMC Board of Health, and supported by our Bishop, Rev. Dr. John G. Innis, Ganta Hospital provides life-saving ministries of education and healthcare. We offer affordable healthcare for subsistence farming families. About 70 percent of our patients are living way below national and global poverty levels. The hospital service fees are set at an affordable rate (55% of realistic fees). The bulk of our operational funds are derived from local fees. We are thankful for partner support, both local and international, that helps to subsidize our operational budget so we can remain faithful to our ministry of providing affordable medical care.
EBOLA, AN UNWELCOMED VISITOR
We are slowly but surely returning to our normal service delivery. The prevalence of Ebola has decreased, but we continue to uphold and abide by best practices for prevention of its contraction and spread. During the heat of the Ebola outbreak, our staff experienced two confirmed cases. But by God’s grace, none of our staff contracted Ebola as we sought to remain operational throughout the crisis. Those were scary days! We are in a malaria endemic country. Fevers of all kinds presents themselves at the hospital on a daily basis….fevers with symptoms that mirrors Ebola!
In July 2014 we admitted a man diagnosed with malaria. After two days of anti-malarial drugs his condition did not improve. The doctor noted the tell-tale Ebola symptom- red eyes. The doctor quickly isolated him. He succumbed two days later; this was during a time when our staff had very limited knowledge on Ebola and no infection prevention and control protocol was in place. We needed to dispose of the body! There were no body bags, no chlorine, and no spray cans for disinfection of the body and the area where the body lay. Workers were under stress and fear….especially those who treated the now deceased patient. I was the sole staff person that had been trained in personal protective equipment (PPE) protocol. That night on Friday, July 18, 2014, as Director of Nursing Services, I led the PPE dress protocol for five staff to prepare the body for disposal. I also suited up. We found two large bottles Clorox and doused the body (and the bed) with Clorox. We placed the body in a PPE and left it on the bed until the next day when we managed to lay the body to rest in a gravesite. We disinfected the truck and we prayed for God’s protection! The FOLLOWING DAY we received a donation of spray cans, chlorine, and other Ebola supplies from a local partner, Christian Health Association of Liberia (CHAL)! We received UMCOR donated PPE supplies which were desperately needed. The six of us that handled the body, along with the staff who treated the deceased, followed strict vital sign monitoring protocols indicated for those who came in contact with suspected or confirmed Ebola. We reached out to the county health team who trained our staff on Ebola awareness and prevention. I was one of the facilitators. I continue to tell almighty God “thank you, Daddy God” for grace and protection. I also praise and thank you, our partners, for your prayers that gives us courage, wisdom, strength and enabled us to remain safe throughout the heat of the crisis until now.
When I began work at Ganta Hospital, we did not have specialized medical services. Today, we offer specialized areas of dentistry, orthopedics, eye care, comprehensive primary health care, HIV Aids, diabetes, and others.
We are blessed by the presence and service of Dr. Sundeep Franklin, a true servant of God rendering compassionate and quality dental care. Four years ago, Bishop Innis requested from UMCOR the need for dental care. UMCOR reached out to the Christian Dental College in Ludhiana, India, through its Dean, Dr. Abi Thomas, and a partnership was forged between UMC Liberia, the government’s Ministry of Health, UMCOR, and The Christian Dental College. The Christian Dental College sends out dentists to Christian missions around the world. This collective partnership
provides Dr. Franklin’s salary, travel support and enables comprehensive clinical services within a fully equipped dental clinic. UMCOR arranged a partnership with the University of Tennessee to provide the dental equipment, furniture and fixtures, supplies and books for the training program. Dr. Franklin does extractions, restoration, scaling, replacements, managing maxillo facial trauma, root canal treatments and partial dentures. Through the United Methodist University, Dr. Franklin leads our two-year Dental Therapist diploma program. The dream is to train and send out these middle level health workers to fill the gap created by inadequate human resource in dental care, especially in the rural part of the country. Dr. Franklin says with great humility “my work is for the King”! Dr. Franklin’s work will be featured in our next newsletter.
The Eye Clinic is staffed by an Ophthalmic Nurse, Brother Clarence Menleh, and his assistant. Clarence was trained through a special partnership with UMC Liberia and Christoffel Blindenmission (CBM). The eye clinic provides routine eye care and diagnostic services. An arrangement with two cataract surgeons is being made to come to the hospital on a scheduled basis for provision of more comprehensive services to include removal of cataracts and other eye conditions that requires surgeries.
This clinic is staffed by Mr. Nestor Suah, one of only 4 trained orthopedic technologists in the country. Mr. Suah has over 40 years of experience, serving in government health structures and at Ganta Hospital. Services in his clinic covers: correction of club
foot, upper and lower limb prostheses, physical therapy, and assisting with amputations. Our club foot clinic is supported through a partnership with Miracle Feet, a USA based humanitarian organization. Miracle Feet also contributes much needed supplies.
Primary Health Care
Our Community-based Primary Health Care program is headed by Brother Allen Zomonway, a graduate of Winifred J. Harley School of Nursing with more than 16 years work experience at our hospital. Allen and his staff developed our primary health care program from general outreach services to a comprehensive community based effort involving comprehensive maternal child health, water and sanitation, and basic preventive health services in 90 communities. Our Primary Healthcare Program is supported by local organizations, Curamericas, UMCOR, and other partners.
Our data collection and reporting systems have improved over the years. Brother Dennis Weh, our Monitoring and Evaluation Surveillance Officer, a nurse with over fifteen years of service at Ganta Hospital. He collects our monthly data from all departments and reports first week each month for onward submission to the national health authority. Please view our data summary below:
Data Summaries for 2013 – 2014
|#||Data Description||2013 Total||2014 Total|
|1.||Out Patient Clinic visits (including Eye clinic)||32,577||24,107|
|2.||Total in-patient bed admission||6,016||4,077|
|4.||Total births (babies delivered)||1,533||1,152|
|9||HIV tests done||2,560||1,898|
|10||HIV test positive||103||60|
|11||Total persons that accessed lab||23,618||17,729|
OUR CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER
Dr. Albert G. Willicor (firstname.lastname@example.org), Advance # 15151Z, is a Global Ministries missionary assigned as Chief Medical Officer for Ganta Hospital. Affectionately called “Doc”, he is one of the success pillars of Ganta Hospital. He is also my inspiration and my mentor as he faithfully leads our medical team.
We are blessed with partners, both locally and internationally. We recognize with thanks and appreciation local farmers who share their harvest to supply our hospital kitchen, local vendors who contribute dry goods and food products, the ecumenical spirit of our faith community through the sharing of their presence by praying with us in Chapel and in our various offices, youth groups who volunteer their time and strength to keep the mission station clear of litter and high grass, local vendors who gives us discounts when purchasing items from their stores, international partners, individuals, and organizations whose financial and material support strengthens our efforts to provide health services at an affordable rate for the public we serve, and local churches around the world who support us through the Advance and other support avenues while also praying for our health, wisdom and strength…….we appreciate all of you very much!
EBOLA RECOVERY AND HEALTH STRENTHENING MISSIONARY SUPPORT
We are blessed by the presence and support of Sister Mary Zigbuo, Rev. Priscilla Jaiah and Sister Helen Roberts Evans, three missionaries sent by Global Ministries to assist our ongoing Ebola recovery and health strengthening support. While Sis Helen and Rev. Jaiah includes us in their already busy schedules as they seek to lead their assigned ministry areas, Sister Mary is primarily assigned to assist us. She is no stranger as she and her late husband, Rev. Herbert Zigbuo, served Ganta Mission Station in many roles spanning several years. She served as hospital administrator during 2004-2007. I am happy our missionaries are part of our team and assisting us in our ongoing administrative transition and Ebola recovery process.
SUPPORT OUR WORK
Please continue to pray for our safety during this Ebola era as we remain committed to keep our hospital open and functional. Pray for me…for my health to keep me strong and wisdom to guide my service. Pray for our staff to remain safe and motivated. Please continue to support our Ganta Hospital Advance Special #15080N.
We are dependent upon volunteers who come and share their expertise which strengthens our health care delivery. We love hosting you and building long lasting relationships. Please consider coming when the CDC lift its “no unessential travel” category for West Africa
Please feel free to contact me on email@example.com or by cell phone on +231 770201189. Internet access is challenged here in Ganta, so, please copy Sister Mary (firstname.lastname@example.org) when writing me. Her support is very helpful to me. My days are long and quite busy, usually beginning at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 6:30 p.m..
I look forward to hear from all of you. Thanks to many of you who have already reached out with words of support and encouragement, financial gifts and material donations. I am thankful for all our partners and to our Bishop, Rev. Dr. John G. Innis, our UMC leadership staff, and our UMC Health Board leadership for all the support and confidence rendered me. May the good Lord bless all of you!!
Nora Keah-Sandi (Mrs)
Advance Number 15080N