Community Health Clinic Greets Liberians Returning Home
When the doors of the new Ganta Community Health Clinic opened earlier this month, the people of Nimba County took one more important step forward in their efforts to rebuild their community from the near total destruction caused by years of civil war.
Last year, as refugees and other displaced Liberians began to return home, community members in Ganta recognized the immediate health care needs and mobilized to construct the new facility. The IRC has provided health services in Nimba County since 1997 and was well-positioned to partner with the local community and the transitional government to build the clinic.
“The people of Ganta provided the land, labor and a significant amount of local materials to build the clinic; the IRC, working through the Ministry of Health, contributed expertise to the design and supervised its construction,” said Dr. Margaret Itto, IRC’s Health Coordinator in Liberia.
The IRC incorporated a number of innovations into the design of the clinic, including zinc and translucent plastic roofing that provides both protection from the elements and significant natural light.
The fully-equipped, six-bed clinic will provide primary health care services and include a maternity ward to offer prenatal and postnatal care. The reproductive health care staff is specially-trained to diagnose HIV/AIDS and treat other sexually transmitted infections, as well as the physical trauma experienced by survivors of gender-based violence. The clinic has a new hand pump and eleven latrines, including one inside the facility itself. Plans are in place to construct disposal facilities for potential biohazards.
“This clinic will drastically improve the quality of health care in Ganta and the surrounding area,” said Itto. “Its opening greatly increases the capacity of the community to absorb the thousands of people that will be soon returning to Nimba.”
The IRC will continue to work with the Ministry of Health to supply the clinic, train staff, and collect important health data in the community.