MONROVIA, Montserrado — On an afternoon in December, Morrison Karnley and his team at the Benson Hospital in Paynesville received an unexpected Christmas gift.
A team from BESTWA, also known as Building Everyone’s Success in West Africa, drove into the compound of the hospital to make a donation of another round of medical supplies. It was headed by Field Director Daniel Mellish.
Earlier that day, Mellish and his team had been delivering medical supplies to clinics and hospitals in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County and its outskirts.
BESTWA is an American NGO operating in Liberia and the brainchild of Andy Perkins. Partnering with the Mother Teresa Children’s Foundation UK, and Mutter Teresa Kinderhilfe-Osterrich (Mother Teresa Children’s Foundation Austria), BESTWA airlifted US$3.2 million of medical supplies to Liberia. The donated supplies are an official World Health Organization Interagency Emergency Health Kit deemed a reliable, standardized, affordable, and quickly available source of essential medicine and medical devices.
“Obviously with a population of just over 4 million we are in a long battle to provide basic health care and build a robust and reliable health care system. We will continue to work every day to do what we can for health care in Liberia,” Executive Director Perkins said.
Located in Paynesville, the government-owned Benson Hospital is one of several hospitals severely affected by the Ebola crisis. During the peak of the epidemic, the hospital was closed to the public as it ran out of basic essential supplies.
During the Ebola outbreak, BESTWA donated free medical supplies to clinics and hospitals in Margibi and Grand Bassa counties with a promise to do more in subsequent donations.
Karnley, an accountant at the hospital, said the kind gesture of BESTWA was timely. “We currently run a free service for pregnant women, so we are grateful the medicine came,” he said. “It will really serve the intended purpose. We usually find it difficult to get drugs, and when the month comes to an end, our bill goes so high for medical materials so these drugs will actually help us this month to reduce our financial expenditure for drugs.
As Karnley and his staff put away the donations, the BESTWA team drove out and made their way to the Duport Road Health Center. The head of the clinic was full of praises as she lamented that its pharmacy had run out of Septrin, a drug used in treating infections.
Across from the city on Bushrod Island, the BESTWA team showed up unexpectedly at the Redemption Hospital in the slum community of New Kru Town. Redemption Hospital caters to over 45,000 people in that area.
Receiving the medical supplies, Mai Cheeks, a member of the administrative team at the hospital said she was surprised that an NGO from Grand Bassa County could come and donate to major hospitals and clinics in Monrovia.
As she instructed her staff to take hold of the medical supplies, she expressed thanks and said that it will be used for the intended purpose.
Featured photo courtesy of Christian Aid Ministries, Liberia.