As we continue to prepare for takeoff, we thought we’d introduce someone who has been a gem on the GBF Liberia team since early 2010. Paul Kangar volunteers as GBF’s in-country correspondent and has been a major force of recognition on the ground. Paul manages our office space in the Liberian Government Hospital and distributes Maternal Care Packages on a weekly basis. He also maintains records of this distribution and reports them to GBF US monthly. We are so thankful that Paul has been rock star since our union and anticipate meeting him in Liberia again! Meet paul below:
Hi Nichole and everyone:
I am very pleased to be part of the Gbomai Bestman Foundation in Liberia. My name is Paul S. W. Kangar born in Liberia, West Africa. I have a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration (B B A) specifically in accounting and management.
I got involved with GBF in March 2010, when Ms Bestman-Johnson first visited Liberia after 20 years in the United States of America. She expressed her desire to help Liberian women and children especially in the health area and I agreed that it was a good ideal for my country. Given the major needs of Liberians in every aspect of life ranging from health, shelter, food, jobs, social needs: education, safe drinking water, etc, I felt that the health sector was paramount and her interest was in the right direction!
Looking at Liberia’s healthcare, we actually have a lot of “assistance.” However, the maternal healthcare area of our country has been overlooked. I believe this is the government’s job ultimately. But the private sector and not-for-profits like the Gbomai Bestman Foundation, etc. should be driving forces behind this agenda. Many of the young girls of the ages of 14-24 and women are in child bearing conditions that no one can imagine. These young women live in remote areas where it is hard to find the nearest health center to obtain medical advice or attention when they are pregnant. As a result of their remote location, they give birth in homes where they are only catered to by traditional midwives. Many of these pregnant young women die of child birth due to lack of medical care. At least in some areas, women can afford to seek medical attention once of twice if lucky. In the rural area, many women give bith without going to a clinic at all. It is a hard thing to understand.
As you can see, health education is a major problem for pregnant women in Liberia. So their babies are not even given the chance to see the days beyond 5 year old. The death rate of postnatal and infants are so high in all parts of Liberia.
Nonetheless, we are starting to seek what can work for these women. For the past few months of my involvement with the work of GBF in Bomi county, there has been a huge influx of pregnant women from all over the rural settlement of the county to attend medical care in the Liberia Government Hospital. The highest record of delivery report in the maternal record of the the hospital was April of this year as a result of GBF’s Maternal Care Package gifts delivery to woman giving birth in the hospital. I distribute the packages out of our small office in the hospital.
I am proud to say that over 178 packages were given out to babies, mothers, and fathers from the period of January to May, 2011. As my people say, “this my success story of the period”.
However, there are many more challenges that are unveiling themselves as GBF continues to operate in Liberia:
- What is the right mix of needs for mothers and children in the rural areas?
- Transportation solutions for women in rural areas where there is no health facility?
- For the lifeline of the existing clinics, the health workers, there needs to be more finances to increase their pay!
These questions can be overwhelming. But I recommend that we continue what has been working in the short term as we ponder about future methods…More maternal packages for babies and mothers and more maternal supplies for maternal departments of hospitals so that they can do their immediate jobs.