Executive Director Swallie comments on impact, challenges, funding gaps
A Liberian based Non-governmental Organization, Lifeline Network Liberia, has since 2007 unfolded a four-part holistic empowerment program for Liberians in the rural settlements of Dixville, Johnsonville and Barnesville in Montserrado County.
In an exclusive interview over the weekend founder and executive director (LNL) Rev. Tage F. Swallie said that programs include, Lifeline Medical Services, Lifeline Training Institute, Early Childhood Education and Lifeline Computer Literacy Program.
In terms of childhood education, Swallie said that LNL is operating a kindergarten session up to grade three and there are plans to upgrade the organization’s strength to the sixth grade in the years to come.
Lifeline Medical Services Liberia is the health and medical arm of the Lifeline Network Liberia, a faith-based Community Development and Empowerment Organization legally incorporated in Liberia.
Rev. Swallie said that the medical services program has had some significant impacts on the inhabitants of Dixville, Johnsonville and Barnesville in terms of maternal healthcare (child birth deliveries attendance of pregnant mothers) and malaria treatments.
As of the funding for the construction of the clinic in Liberia, he said that during a trip to the United Kingdom few years ago, he held discussions with Lifeline International United Kingdom and a grant of US$10,000 was donated for the project.
“We are indeed grateful and would ever remain appreciative to the British charity for planting a fertile seed that continues to germinate with so many useful branches that are making great impacts in the socioeconomic and educational spheres of Liberians in those hard to reach areas of our country,” Swallie said.
He’s being backed by his professional midwife and dedicated wife Mrs. Ruth S. Swallie since the clinic was constructed, and had been catering to more than 800 outpatients every year in the Kpan Town Community in Montserrado County.
Swallie said that funds generated from the fees of patients and other vital medical services, which are appropriated for the small salaries and the general operations of the clinic have sustained the organization over the years.
He added that the medical facility has in its employ two physician assistants, a professional midwife with 31 years of experience and practice in and out of Liberia.
Rev. Swallie said that the rest of the staff are Nurse Assistants that continue to buttress the efforts of the main medical staff working at the Lifeline Network Liberia Medical Services in Kpan Town.
As of the training the LNL provides, Rev. Swallie said that the trainees, upon completion of course study, are given certificates of achievement and encouraged to pursue further studies to equip themselves professionally.
He said that as the medical work grows and expands, their dream is to operate the medical facility to a full medical center.
According to him, the Lifeline Medical Services is in need of a medical doctor and vital laboratory equipment as the medical facility is now faced with an influx of patients.
Swallie also said that Lifeline Medical Services Liberia is a self-supported initiative and funded through the operation of its medical clinic.
Rev. Tage Swallie, a product of the Baptist Theological Seminary, added that the institution is seeking partnership and funding opportunities for the present and future operations of the medical services in Liberia and West Africa.
He recalled that in 2010 his wife, Ruth S. Swallie, was invited to England, where she shared her medical experience with the distinguished parliamentarians and the Lifeline Conference participants. Mrs. Swallie at the time underscored the need for some coordinated efforts and partnership to improve the maternal and child healthcare in the sub-Saharan region and the world.
He also said that the clinic has been able to employ 13 professional Liberian medical personnel and runs a 24-hour operation. Although ambulance services are more or less non-existent, patients, especially pregnant women, are on many occasions brought to the medical facility in wheelbarrows and other risky forms of mobility.
Rev. Swallie however noted that the past and present Liberian governments have continued to provide essential malaria drugs to the clinic and such assistance has in many ways helped the medical institution to cater to Liberians and foreign residents in that part of rural Liberia.
As part of the health services to Liberians and foreign residents, the entity is currently catering to 13 orphans, who were found and identified by LNL staff and are being assisted in the areas of education, food and healthcare.
The Lifeline Network Liberia official sounded urgent appeal to all Liberian and international entities to extend their financial and material assistance toward the renovation of main clinic building which is, at the moment, in a bad state.
“My institution is in urgent and dire need of 13 bundles of zinc and steel rods toward the renovation of our clinic that its roof has out-lived its usefulness,” Swallie pleaded.
Meanwhile, Rev. Sawllie has urged Liberians at home and abroad to consider as critical their investment in the development, growth and progress of Liberia with all their professional skills, talents resources and educational expertise.