Liberia: Serene Health to Unveil its 2019 Work Plan to Partners
Monrovia – Serene Health, a Liberian-based community health organization, which has been providing healthcare for Liberians with severe medical conditions, will on Friday, April 12, 2019, unveil and share its 2019 work plan with partners and potential partners.
Among the group’s immediate goals is the implementation of six medical outreaches and the adoption of a medical facility for maternal health services in rural Montserrado County and the Todee Health District.
Mrs. Maima Dabah Quoi Pelham, Executive Director, is hoping that partners will gain first-hand knowledge of some of the many outreaches the organization has been involved with since it began operating in November 2013.
“Our functions were limited during Ebola but we resumed full operations in 2016″, Mrs. Pelham explains.
Despite making inroads, she says funding has been a challenge. “We have been raising funds mainly through small contributions from individuals and local corporations and through donations boxes placed at various supermarkets and restaurants in Monrovia. Our major funding came from NOCAL in 2016 to implement a maternal health project and four medical outreaches in Louisiana community in rural Montserrado. “We trained and deployed 26 midwives and community health volunteers to monitor and support 102 pregnant women until delivery. We also provided medical services to 1390 patients through mobile outreaches, 49.7% of whom children.” The impact of this project was tremendous. It was later extended for six months until April 2018 but we are unable to continue or scale up due to lack of funding.”
Serene Health team has conducted 18 free medical outreaches serving over 5000 people in several rural and urban communities in Montserrado County, including Louisiana, Cheesemanburg, Old Road, Doe Community, Peace Island and Monrovia Central Prison and two orphanages. We have made over 50 referrals to JFK and Redemption Hospitals for patients needing advance medical care.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some 70 percent of the population in Liberia lives within five km of a health facility with only one physician for every 71,000 people compared with one physician for every 10,000 persons in the West African sub-region.
With limited access to health care in rural settings and long distance to health facility, there is a dire need for mobile community health care. This would enable far away community with limited or no access to health care to get care from trained professionals. Few organizations have seen the need to provide this important service to some community. Serene Health through its team of volunteered, medical doctors, nurses, physician assistants, laboratory technicians, social workers and other support staff, has done fantastic work in this area.
“Our team works with community leaders and volunteers to plan and execute each outreach. We provide medical care to people with several medical conditions including malaria (the most common condition), acute respiratory infections, gastroenteritis, typhoid fever, HIV/AIDs counselling etc. Other services provided include: family planning, treatment for STIs, maternal & child health and health promotion etc.”
An estimated 250 to 400 persons benefit from free medical care during each outreach activities. Each outreach lasts for nine hours and costs approximately US$3,000. This means that at a cost of approximately US$9 – US$12, a person would be granted professional medical care, receiving medical examination, diagnosis, prescription, medication and health education as well as referral services when deemed necessary.
Mrs. Pelham, a professional nurse and an entrepreneur with several years of experience, said she remains dedicated to ensuring that Serene Health expands to every sector of Liberia.
She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Cuttington University in 2010 and is currently studying for a Master of Public Health degree from the same University. She has two certificates in both Medical Imaging Techniques, 2014 and Gynecological and Pediatric disease treatment of traditional Chinese Medicine, 2011 both from the People’s Republic of China.
From 2011-2013, Mrs. Pelham served as head nurse for a World Bank funded project to evaluate nurses’ performance at the Redemption Hospital. Having witnessed the health challenges faced by women and children across the country while serving as a nurse, she was inspired to startup a humanitarian organization that aims to provide free health care to vulnerable women and children through mobile clinic outreach.
She later resigned in 2013 to establish Serene Health, which she is currently managing. She provides leadership for all its activities and supervises both staff and volunteers with oversight from the Board of Directors.
She also owns and manages one of Liberia’s leading fashion designs businesses (Cam Fashion Designs), which has been the major source of funding for Serene Health for the last few years.
Mrs. Pelham further said that through small support and grants; the organization has been able to regularly mobilize a team of volunteer medical practitioners to conduct medical outreach to communities as well as implement projects to promote maternal health in rural communities in Montserrado County.
Ahead of Friday’s work plan launch, she is hopeful that more and more Liberians will lend a helping hand to a worthy cause. “We need funding to continue implementing our existing projects as well as maintain our office. We need medical supplies, fuel for our ambulance, transportation and feeding for volunteers during medical outreach. We also are adopting clinics for our maternal health project and need resources for training of staff, supplies and medication.”