West Point, Monrovia, Liberia
The West Point neighborhood of Monrovia in Liberia is a four square kilometer, sandy peninsula that sits on the Atlantic Ocean and is home to nearly 75,000 people. It is also Monrovia’s largest slum. Along its single paved road is the neighborhood’s only clinic, Star of the Sea.
The home visit team in front of the Star of the Sea Clinic
In 2014, Global Strategies trained nurses at Star of the Sea clinic to conduct home visits to mothers who had just given birth either at the clinic or at home. During training, they learned to identify common danger signs, provide referrals as appropriate, and offer help with common issues like umbilical cord care and breastfeeding. This dedicated cadre of seven nurses has provided care at these home visits to over 2,000 mothers and babies since the start of the program.
Visiting babies and moms at their homes
This week, our team visited the nurses at Star of the Sea clinic and shadowed them for a day as they visited mothers and babies at their homes. We were impressed not only at their skills navigating the narrow, unmarked walkways between homes but most importantly, with their relationships with the moms. Some of these nurses, like nurse Comfort (pictured below), grew up in the West Point community. During our walk with the nurses, it was evident how well-loved these nurses were with not only by mothers but also by community members; many of whom came out to greet us as we passed by. Their constant presence is a reminder to the community that they not only help keep local moms and babies healthy, they are there for the whole community, providing vital care in the home and at the clinic.
At the end of our day, as we thanked our partner and their nurses for all of their wonderful work, one of their leaders mentioned that “Because of them, we are here” - their commitment to serving their community is the reason they do this work.