— At Firestone Medical Center in Duside, while renewing hopes and brightening the futures of Liberia’s children
Firestone Liberia LLC, in partnership with Children’s Surgery International (CSI), has ended a one-week surgical mission at the Firestone Medical Center in Duside, Margibi County carrying out successful life-changing surgeries on 87 patients between the ages of 0 and 20 with general pediatric conditions.
The medical team also provided several training opportunities for the medical staff at the Firestone Medical Center in order to enhance their abilities to effectively carry out their work.
The initiative, which took place from January 22 to January 25, included imperforate anus, hernias, and hypospadias and the surgeries were done at absolutely no cost to the child and family.
This is CSI’s 13th mission to Liberia, and its head of mission, Laura Koppel, expressed joy that CSI was once again able to provide free medical care to dozens of Liberia’s children who desperately needed help.
She said Liberia is one of CSI’s favorite missions, and as long as they can, they will continue to assist Liberian children with essential surgeries and provide free training for medical staff at Firestone Hospital and other places.
Children’s Surgery International is a nonprofit group of volunteer American doctors and healthcare providers who provide free surgical services for children in dire need. The group builds partnerships with local hospitals and conducts surgical mission trips to some of the poorest regions of the world.
It can be recalled that CSI first partnered with Firestone Liberia in 2010, and since then the mission has only failed to come to the country during the Ebola epidemic that affected Liberia and the Coronavirus pandemic.
CSI has helped more than 900 children receive free surgical operations. Firestone’s partnership with CSI speaks to the company’s commitment to ensure unhindered access to essential life needs, including medical care, and to improve the dignity of its employees, their dependents, contractors, and those living across the concession area.
At the closing ceremony held on January 27, Firestone’s Medical Director, Dr. Benedict Wollor, said they were grateful again to have CSI visit their hospital and provide essential medical care for children.
“We cannot thank you enough for what you do for us every year. Firestone Medical Center remains committed to providing important medical services for our teammates and the community in general,” Wollor said.
CSI’s 13th mission to Liberia this year began with its usual community outreach activities. The team visited the C.H. Rennie Hospital in Kakata and presented essential medical supplies that the hospital desperately needed.
He said they also visited the Liberian Children Village Orphanage, the Faith Old Folks Home in Unification Town, and the Kolu Sokodolo School and donated essential supplies, including food, toys, and medication.
In addition to these donations, more than 7000 children received deworming medications both within and outside of the concession area.
Local medical staff, Esther Russell Assaf referred to the training as necessary, stating “it broadened her horizon and gave her a better perspective on how to do her work more effectively.”
“It has widened my knowledge; it has given me more idea on what to do. From the training, I realized that there is a lot more that I could do even with limited resources. It has given me more knowledge on how to manage these conditions in even simpler ways,” she said.
Mary G. Matala, the mother of 10-year-old Richard Matala, who received surgery for a small abdomen wall mass expressed her gratitude to Firestone Liberia and CSI for successfully solving her son's problem.
She explained that Richard was born with the problem, but over time, it got worse and began causing him some discomfort.
“At first, when I was called to carry him, I was afraid, but the doctor comforted me before the work could go on. Where we are now, we are successful. My child is sitting down with me, and he is eating. I am very grateful to God," she said.
She further expressed thanks to Firestone and CSI because, according to her, such operations are costly in other places. She praised CSI and Firestone for doing the surgeries free of charge and hoped that the mission would continue in Liberia to help other kids as well.
The CSI team was comprised of 25 medical staff, including specialized doctors, surgeons, pediatricians, and nurses. Last year, during its 12th mission to Liberia, the team provided free medical care to 80 Liberian children and dewormed more than 4000 people, mainly children.
Children who benefited from the initiative