In Liberia, there is a staggering lack of access to healthcare. With only 250 doctors for every 5 million people, the needs far outnumber the resources. Children suffer greatly from this deficit, with 32 percent of children under the age of 5 suffering from chronic malnutrition, a condition which can cause stunted growth and anemia.
When Hope and Care for Children (HCC) first moved into the Liberian community of Joezohn in 2009, they were caring for 9 orphans, many of whom were malnourished, and there was no medical care to be had. A local nurse began treating the children out of her house, and remained dedicated to the growing number of HCC orphans until they were able to open the Nancy Fayia Medical Clinic.
The clinic, opened in 2020 and named after an HCC orphan who died tragically of malaria at the age of 3, serves the now 58 orphans that are housed on the Joezohn campus, as well as the 500 students who are enrolled at the HCC school.
Linda Kurtz, Chairman of the Board for HCC, says that the biggest challenge in keeping the orphans healthy has been their malnourishment. “We have not been able to affordably get vitamins for the 65 kids on campus (58 orphans, plus 7 children of staff members),” she says. There are some orphans that were born so malnourished that the staff have struggled to get them back into a healthy state. Many of the children have stunted growth, appearing much smaller than they should be for their age.
“The OTCs (over-the-counter medicines) are the things that are so expensive in Liberia,” Kurtz explains. Fortunately, Kurtz made a connection with MAP International just prior to her latest visit to Liberia and was able to bring a 6-month supply of MAP-donated vitamins for all the children on campus. The prayer is that thanks to these vitamins, these children will soon have strong bodies to match their smiling faces!