One of our partners is Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa's order) and they hold a medical clinic twice a week. Many children under 5 and their caregivers (usually their mother) are admitted to the mission for malaria. The sisters ensure the medicine is given properly and IVs are used, if necessary. Sister Josianne is a trained nurse and she holds the clinic. A local doctor comes to the mission once a week (more if needed) to check on the patients. They care mainly for malaria, TB and HIV patients. We visit the patients there on Wednesday mornings and sing, play games, do simple crafts and sit to talk with them.
Recently, an article was written about a donation from a church in England given to Mercy Ships for delivering mosquito nets to the people we serve here in Freetown, Sierra Leone:
In West Africa, over 3,000 children die of malaria every day; 1 out of every 5 childhood deaths is due to malaria.2 Malaria kills a child every 30 seconds in West Africa. 2 The disease can cause anemia and jaundice and, if not promptly treated, can cause coma, kidney failure, or death.
To make matters worse, the West African rainy season that begins in June will cause flooding that will aggravate the problem, since standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry the disease according to Robert Agyarko, UN Childrens Fund Specialist on Malaria for West Africa. In Freetown, Sierra Leone, it is estimated that between 60% and 70% of mosquitoes are malaria carriers.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that malaria can be controlled, and even prevented, using anti-malarial drugs, insect repellent, or mosquito nets in sleeping areas. UN Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers, reports, Mosquito nets are still the most effective tool for preventing malaria in West Africa.
|Deck Hand Steve Sesay receives the shipment of mosquito nets onboard the Africa Mercy in Freetown, Sierra Leone. |
|Patients are enthusiastic about showing off the new mosquito nets at the HOPE Center.|