Grant Recipient Update: 4 H.I.M.
for July 25, 2021
Our project was designed to bring solutions to two problems. One was with healthcare and one was with the agriculture sector. The initial problem is in the agriculture sector and is a lack of dependable farm machinery to plow and cultivate the fields. That problem creates a healthcare problem, which is that the manual labor causes severe hernias mostly in men, but also in some women.
In past times, 4H.I.M. had funded corrective surgeries through a partnership with a local surgeon, a Dr. Abdulai Daniel Sesay (aka. Dr ABD) and his hospital, The City Garden Clinic. The surgeries were costing about $250 per patient. The surgeries prevented a severe disruption to the health of the suffers and their families.
The hernias create a lack of income and a reduction in locally grown produce and rice. Then over time, an eventual death (mostly from infections and inactivity caused by the hernias). The farmers with the hernias eventually lose their ability to farm their land and over time many die from infections. The result is unproductive land, loss of income, and upon their death there are widows and orphans left to fend for themselves in one of the poorest countries in the world.
Another result of the surgeries is the surgeries provide The City Garden Clinic with patients that compensate the hospital for their surgeries with the grants from 4H.I.M. which is a blessing to the hospital and staff.
With our grant from the Legacy Initiative, we received $25,000 to secure some easy to repair used tractors (Ford N8 tractors) and ship them over to start up the farming Co-ops. After gettting a container shipped, and starting up farming Co-ops, we planned to use the remaining funds to fund more hernia surgeries.
DIFFICULTIES CAUSED BY THE PANDEMIC
Unfortunately, after the Pandemic began, we ran into a few roadblocks.
First, in shipping a container with tractors, we found the cost of shipping and the containers themselves to be more expensive than in times past. Also, because there was a disruption in the supply chain worldwide we had concerns for repair parts, motor oil, hydraulic fluid, and tires etc., being readily available in Sierra Leone. We decided it would be wise to send extra parts and supplies on the container.
Our concerns were warranted as some things became unavailable or extremely expensive. We originally thought the we could get the tractors, parts, and supplies over to SL for approximately $15,000 which would leave about $10,000 to do more surgeries. Unfortunately, the change in costs and the adjustments to send extra parts and supplies to assure the tractors would continue to operate also changed the total expense from our original estimates. Procuring the tractors, extra parts and supplies, and shipping the container ended up costing us $19,954.
We identified three patients that were badly needing the hernia surgeries and transported them to the hospital for surgery, but the cost was much higher.
Higher medical costs was the second problem which was also caused by the Pandemic. Everything became more costly because of the lack of medical supplies and the general lockdown. The supplies needed became very scarce and more expensive and the lockdowns created hardships for the patients being able to come to the hospital. The hospital could not justify the hernia surgeries, because they are considered elective. The scarcity of supplies warranted Dr. ABD and the hospital to hold the supplies for emergencies and other life threatening cases. The hernias do become life threatening as they get worse over time, but they can take a few years to reach that level. We spent about $1,500 for the three patients which is basically double of what the costs had been. We have determined that we would monitor those suffering from the hernias and only do a surgery if the patient was in an immediate threat of deteriorating condition or death.
Since Sierra Leone had recently been part of the Ebola Crisis, their government has been very strict with lockdowns and precautionary measures, so transportation and basic goods (especially medical supplies) are very costly as compared to the recent past.
We currently have three more tractors secured and they are sitting in a warehouse in Oklahoma City. We have spent $21,497 out of the original $25,000, but we are hoping to send another container soon with at least three more tractors and a bunch of parts and supplies for the tractors and more medical supplies directly to our two leaders Dr. ABD, who will do more surgeries, and Pastor Nat who will oversee the farming Co-ops.
Thank you to everyone at the Legacy Collective!!!