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Visit to Sibiry Doumbia Community
Memorial Health Center -- Medical Supplies Hand Delivered

2007 10 10

Supporting health and humanitarian programs in Africa is an objective of JIK. The Sibiry Doumbia Community Memorial Health Center is the organization’s first African project. It is located in the Republic of Mali , West Africa - one of the poorest countries in the world with a literacy rate of 17% and, one of the highest infant mortality rates in Africa .

The center was conceived and built in 2004, by Lassine Doumbia, a member of JKI’s Board of Directors, in memory of his father who died in 2004, at the age or 90. The senior Doumbia died in his village of complications from a broken hip. Medicines were purchased in Bamako , the capitol, yet it was five days before a medical technician could visit the village to administer the medication. Mr. Doumbia died prior to the doctor’s arrival. With the belief that all men, women and children should have ready access to medical care in their community, the Center was born. In his effort to nurture and support the new health center, help was solicited from JKI. Shortly after accepting his request for help, an official letter from JKI expressing support for the Center was directed and forwarded to the Malian Minister of Health through the Malian Ambassador in Washington , D.C. Thanks to Henry Schein, Inc. - a global corporation citizenship program of healthcare products and services, a donation of health products totaling $35,000.00 was given to the Center in 2006. To help with shipment, a generous contribution from the D.C. Rotary Foundation financed the first shipment to the Center in 2006.

A second shipment of medical supplies was hand-carried from the U.S.A. by individuals traveling on a two week educational tour to Ghana , West Africa . After one week of touring Ghana , the medical supplies were delivered to the health center in Mali via The Ivory Coast on August 8, 2007 , by Curator, Rufus Tiefing Stevenson, his brother, Edward Stevenson and a friend, Brian Plitt. The supplies delivered were: syringe tips, a personal scale, maternity pads, latex and vinyl examination gloves, One Steps (Henry Schein, Inc.) pregnancy tests, stethoscopes, BD digital fever thermometers, disposable gowns, thermometers with covers, sterilizable swabs, surgical lubricant sterile bacteriostatics, cotton pads, and a scale for measuring new babies (metal).

Curator Rufus Tiéfing Stevenson described the trip as follows: “ Located in the rural village of Koungodjah , approximately 1½ hours drive (40 km) from Bamako , the capitol, the Center was difficult to reach by car. I had made many visits to the village over the years but this was my first with a family member and a European friend. Night had fallen when we left the airport en route to the Center. It was the rainy season. The long winding dirt road was filled with puddles of water that splashed from time to time over the entire vehicle. With the exception of a tiny light here and there in the far distance, there was nothing to be seen in the distance but bush-land and the night’s clear sky, close enough to touch the stars. From the feel of things, it appeared as if we were in no man’s land and going further into the unknown.

Finally, we arrived at the Center. Our reception was warm and full of traditional Malian hospitality. The Center’s cement block structure (where we slept) with its large reception area, examination rooms, birthing/delivery room, patient rooms and offices were impressive. There was a small generator providing one light and power for a single standing electric fan. Two female healthcare nurses live on the compound and a medical doctor from the Malian National Health Services is in charge of day-today operations along with two local traditional midwives to advise and assist. Together they provide consultations, medical exams, assist in births, immunizations, general medical guidance, and medication. According to the Center’s medical records, a total of 116 women have delivered babies since the Center opened in 2005.

Three days were spent in the village visiting the Center and the surrounding area. We gained much insight and saw the need. It was a good visit, and a healing experience. We were proud of the progress made however, much help is needed.

To help us nurture this project, we solicit your monetary support. Funds are needed to help us ship medical supplies, already in stock to the center. We thank you in advance. Peace.”


Rufus Tiéfing Stevenson
Curator/Executive Vice President
Jah Kente International, Inc.

 

 

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