Community health initiative ~ Liberia 2018

The first group of the CSI Liberia 2018 surgical team (Lora Koppel, Anna Koppel, Mike Tveite, Mary Johnson, Laura Michaud, Louann Randall and Dody Barr) arrived at the Firestone Guesthouse in Harbel at 1 a.m. Thursday. Our Firestone hosts Don and Janet Darden stayed awake to greet us, and after a light meal we were ready for some rest.

The following morning we were off with our Firestone co-workers to visit four schools identified as high need. Intestinal parasites are a significant public health problem in developing countries, including Liberia. This affliction can affect a large percentage of children and causes significant problems such as malnutrition, poor growth and even learning difficulties. We distributed deworming pills to about 1,500 children, and everyone who received the medication got a sucker to help the medicine go down!

Schools are a great place for us to treat the children. By school I mean a one-room cement building with only a chalkboard and no books. Children come with a notebook and pencil and bring their own chair to school. The children sang to us, and only a few of the younger ones were afraid of us. Firestone’s Sargent Caesar is in charge of this outreach program, and she will talk to us later in the week about what the word “family” means to Liberians.

Back at the Firestone Guesthouse, we enjoyed a delicious home-cooked meal. We were joined by Ed Garcia, President and Managing Director of Firestone Liberia, who thanked us and welcomed us back to Liberia.

Tomorrow we will visit three more communities and expect to treat 1,500 more children for intestinal parasites. In addition to surgeries, it’s great for our small group to get out into the community, where we get a chance to see the children in their school neighborhoods.

The rest of the Liberia surgical team is en route to meet us here. The current screening list has 180 kids waiting for us to evaluate!

Check out our photos!