The last week of April, NFA Board President Laura Jean Ridge went to Liberia. NFA had some big goals for her trip.
The first was to launch four new Nurse-led Public Health Initiatives (NLPHI). Two of the selected initiatives were designed by nurses already working with NFA—Aaron Debah and Solomon Yah. Aaron recently decided to ask NFA to sponsor supplies for the mental health care he has been providing for the community in Ganta in addition to his current work on substance abuse. Aaron’s fabulous work in Ganta was featured in a seven minute-segment on PBS.
Solomon’s proposal was to expand the clean water initiative he and Clinton Zeantoe had been working on together: instead of two nurses working at one site, Solomon proposed to branch out so two sites could be served at the same time.
The other two new initiatives were equally exciting. Christina was selected to provide HIV testing to women and children who were inpatients in a Monrovia hospital, and Tohdy was selected to conduct a family planning education initiative in Paynesville. Both nurses designed their initiatives based on a community need that had been a concern to them for a long time.
Laura’s second goal was to hire NFA’s first Program Officer, someone Monrovia-based who would help NFA support our programs and assess their impact. She interviewed three outstanding candidates, but Abel Welwean stood out. Abel’s experience with data analysis and his admiration for nursing made him perfect for the position.
Third, Laura wanted to assess current programs’ progress. Of the seven programs NFA launched in September, six were still operational. (Unfortunately, one of the nurse participants had scheduling conflicts and was unable to continue her initiative past January.) In late April, these programs were transitioned from pilot to full programs, and site visits were conducted for each.
The site visits were amazing. Delkontee and Pate were conducting an open-air community education meeting with over fifty women in attendance. Annette had four different sites in her community, three schools and an open-air meeting place, where people knew they could find her for hypertension screening and management. Tohdy had already reached out to three different schools in her area where she could conduct family planning education.
It was truly inspiring and wonderful to see all of the great work that the nurse leaders working with NFA have been able to accomplish in the eight months since their programs launched. Thank you, and congratulations to them.