As beneficiaries testify of extraordinary services
Beneficiaries of the Imani House Incorporated (IHI), in Jahtondo town, Brewerville, have confessed that the facility is providing quality health care services and training them to become self-sufficient and independent.
She said, unlike other health centers that nurses allegedly take extra money from them, the clinic only takes treatment fees from them without taking any other money. “Nurses here are kind and friendly, they pay attention to us and treat us like family,” Jumah Deline, a pregnant patient added.
Testimonies by Deline are contrary to the reality of today when patients visit hospitals and long lists of medicine are given to them and directed to particular drug stores or pharmacies to go and purchase. It had also been reported during some occasions marking the International Nurses Day celebrated in May every year that many hospitals and clinics do not provide services in line with medical ethics, but use profane languages on patients who are already traumatized.
According to patients, IHI adult and vocational education for main women and young girls has helped improve residents’ productivity and enable them to become contributors to their community.
The residents, among other things, said that the clinic caters to a number of curable illnesses without patients worrying about the huge cost of services rendered them. “We get all of our medicines here for affordable cost[small money]. We don’t have to go buy the drugs from a pharmacy or drug store.” Says Ms. Deline.
Additionally, the clinic provides pre and postnatal services for pregnant women, childhood immunization, testing, medical counseling, public health education, and general treatment at an affordable cost for residents.
IHI is a non-profit organization that is assisting marginalized youth, families, and immigrants to create a vibrant neighborhood where residents are decision-makers who take responsibility for the improvement of their lives and surrounding.
“Imani House Incorporated believes that everyone can succeed if they are motivated and have access to appropriate skills, information, and opportunities.” Says Bisi Ideraabdullah, IHI Executive Director.
Ms. Ideraabdullah is the president and co-founder of Imani House Incorporated. IHC has its headquarter in New York, the USA where she was born.
In an interview, Ms. Ideraabdullah explained that her clinic offers medication mostly women and children with every Wednesday set as prenatal day to enhance Maternal and Child Health Care at the Clinic by coaching young baby mothers on how to take care of themselves and their children.
She said though the clinic lacks funding to increase its functions, the facility still caters to about 12,000 per year, and over 50 persons who are mostly pregnant women and children and treated per day. “First it was 18,000 but because of COVID-19 it has dropped to 12,000.”
Ideraabdullah is a naturalized Liberian who said her children got a quality education from Liberia. “I collected my five children and brought them back to Liberia. I said let them die physically but not emotionally.”
She added that the IHC mobile clinic also takes the clinic to the people so that community dwellers can access free testing and screenings. “We go to areas where there are no clinics to provide health treatment and screenings especially for diabetes and high blood pressure,” she said.
In terms of women’s advancement, Ideraabdullah said though women are the backbone of every society because they take care of the homes and families, empowerment should be general. “I don’t like to talk about women alone then you start separating. Advancement should be inclusive.”
Ideraabdullah narrated that Imani House tailoring and literacy programs have helped to mold the minds of many women most of who are have not become self-employed and teaching others. “We have taught hundreds of women to read and write.”
Annie F. Colemen, Officer in charge of IHC, said the entity contiunes to provide healthcare services to both women and men. “We counsel them on how to keep their enviroment clean and living a healthy life”.
“IHC has also launched the Teenage School Awareness Program’ for students to teach teenagers sexually transmitted diseases, prevention, and how to keep themselves clean.
According to her, every morning before they commence treatment for patients, they teach on various topics on health issues. “We talked about diarrhea, diabetes, and other diseases.”
Furthermore, she said the clinic only operates for 8 hours a day due to a lack of fundings. “We are here from in the morning to 4 pm and we are closed for the day.”
Mary Zigbuo Mantor, Imani House Program Manager said the organization has been around for over 30 years providing free literacy classes for market women.
Mantor added that many of such women have graduated from high school and are now contributing to society. “Many of our students gained vocational skills and are now seamstresses and passing the skill unto their children.”
She added that Imani House primary goal is to stand alongside with the communities in helping them with basic skills.
Imani House Incorporatedbv history
Iderradbullah left her home in the USA to Liberia because of the constant humiliation from the white against the black citizens at that time. She started teaching at a local school. In 1990 during one of the country’s worst periods in the civil war, Ideraadbullah volunteer at the Island Clinic that was controlled by warlord Prince Johnson. She cared for wounded and sick children who were abandoned by the parents or relatives while fleeing the war.
A large number of abandoned children were brought there for treatment and many of them were never claimed after recovery, so she opened a nearby looted house for the abandoned children.
Ideraadbullah pitched a tent and offered health care to thousands of displaced Liberians and combats. Ideraabdullah taught them how to do urban farming, reading, and writing to help them raise money to survive.
Ideraadbullah when as far as asking the UN for tent “I went to the UN and ask them for a tent. Then I went and got the people who volunteered with me at the hospital. I said: “Can you join me? We are going to open a tent to serve the displaced people in the camp.” We opened that tent and served those people. Then I went to the next level and I said: “We are going to build a clinic on our land.” That was in 1993.”
She also received a grant from the UN to build small chicken coups to provide supplies to the displaced people which construction training for men and ex-combatants using mud blocks and cement. Ideraadbullah then encouraged the trainees to build a similar structure on her land, and she turned it into a clinic to serve thousands of people from Liberia and Sierra Leone forced by war to flee their homes. That was how the Imani House was founded.
The Imani House served those in need, regardless of their ethnic tribal groups or religious background. The clinic grew and eventually became a full-service facility catering to the needs of thousands of Liberians, mainly women, and children. In addition to the healthcare services, the Imani House has also launched an adult education program, as building women’s literacy skills and self-reliance is at the core of the Imani House’s mission.
How did Imani House get its Name
In 1982, Ideraabdullah, while travelling on a vacation with her husband, went into labor with her fifth child. When she taken to the nearest hospital, they turned them away and as a result the baby died. So she named the child ‘Imani,’ a Swahili word meaning “Faith.”
“We didn’t know that it was a private hospital. There was a white woman. She asked for insurance, we didn’t have it, and she turned us away.”