When Breastfeeding Not An Option


I think the world agrees, breast(milk) is best.  Women were created with the ability to provide nourishment for their infants. But what happens when the mother can’t feed her infant?  What if she’s sick or physically unable to produce breastmilk or, God forbid, she dies just after the baby is born?  Formula is the obvious solution but not readily available or affordable in low-resource settings like Liberia.  Infants born in Liberia to mothers who cannot breastfeed often do not survive their first year.

Marthaline is one such mother.  She came to the clinic with her 3-month old, and a bottle.  Knowing that infant formula is not sold in our county, and is very expensive in Monrovia, we asked her what she was feeding the baby.  She’d been fixing powdered milk with Lipton tea and using that since the baby was born.  Her son was not only sick, but underweight as he’s not getting nearly enough calories or other nutrients he needs on a daily basis.  We explained the importance of using infant formula for the baby- but what is Marthaline supposed to do?  She can’t afford the formula, much less travel 8 hours to Monrovia every time she needs it.

We reached out to one of our partners, Last Mile Health, which happened to have a few cans of formula on hand to get Marthaline supplied for the next month.  Thanks to our donors, the clinic is happy to be able to come alongside this mother and her son to provide the rest of his formula for the next year.

A Normal Week


This week in the clinic was just like any other week in the clinic. Starting off with a very busy Monday and ending in a very busy Friday. Throughout the week, I was sitting in the exam rooms, observing the routines of a clinic visit. What I saw was that there were many cases of Malaria. Which is a very common occurrence within the clinic. Malaria is a serious disease caused by a parasite. The disease generally occurs in tropical and subtropical areas where humidity and rainfall levels are high. The disease is spread to humans via the bite of an infected mosquito. With so much standing water throughout the country, the mosquitoes multiply fast. Hence why Malaria is easily contracted. A number of the patients at the clinic are there for Malaria treatment.

This week there was also a delivery of a healthy baby boy. He was born Friday around twelve in the afternoon. The delivery started out slow in the morning so Hanson went ahead and induced her. The delivery went smoothly with no complications.

I also noticed that Rose, a nurse, was giving some really great advice to new mothers. The mothers were giving the new born babies water instead of breast milk. She was telling them that the water is really bad for the baby because of everything that was in it. And that their immune systems aren’t like ours, so they will get very sick with the well/creek water. She told them that they need to breast feed because the milk has all of the nutrients that the baby needs. I thought this was really smart because the moms need to understand what is good and what is not good for their baby.

All and all it was a pretty normal week here in the clinic. Fortunately, there were no severe patients and nothing bad happened. On to next week.

Kasey (the intern)

Ouch… Ax to the Leg


Last week a patient came into the clinic with a pretty serious ax wound on his left calf. He got the wound while fixing a canoe. he was cutting the wood and the ax slipped and caught his leg. The cut was about four inches across and pretty deep so it was obvious that it needed to be sutured. Our clinic staff put fifteen staples in his leg, only with Lidocaine to numb the pain. After they were done they told him to rest for a week and then come back. A week later he came back to get the staples removed. This time there was nothing to numb the pain, just a very painful process of removing fifteen staples. After they removed them, they dressed it up and sent him on his way. And he is to come back often to change the dressings. We were all glad that the guy lived in one of the closer villages, because it was a very serious wound. Without the suturing, the wound would not have healed properly.

Kasey (the intern)