Building bridges in Liberia

The makeshift bridge to Gweyee is made up of large fallen trees and bamboo reeds. ~photo courtesy Mary Zigbuo

Missionary Mary Zigbuo brings maternal healthcare and Christ’s love to a village in Africa.

Missionary United Methodist Church

Gweyee, a village in remote Little Kola Clan, Liberia, is accessed by crossing a “bridge” made of large fallen trees interspersed with bamboo reeds over a wide stream. You get to it by following a mile-long footpath off the main road. During the five-month rainy season, the bridge can become very hazardous to cross.

Mary Zigbuo

Mary Zigbuo

Before the John Dean Town United Methodist Mission opened about a decade ago, Gweyee had virtually no access to healthcare and education. Today, its children attend the Gretta Moffat School at the mission and access general healthcare through the John Dean Town Clinic. The United Methodist Church (UMC)-operated school and clinic are the sole providers of healthcare and education within a 10-mile radius of John Dean Town, serving 35 villages.

The provision of healthcare services in areas like Little Kola Clan is greatly enhanced by our five UMC health facilities in three counties. These facilities—four clinics and one hospital—serve more than 500,000 people, including many subsistence farming families. Some provide only minimum curative services due to the many gaps in resources.

But like the makeshift bridge to Gweyee that allows people to cross turbulent streams, God uses us to bridge the gaps in quality affordable healthcare for families struggling to meet their basic needs.

Global Ministries’ Global Health program is supporting John Dean Town Clinic with grants focused on maternal and child health and hospital systems strengthening.

The maternal and child health grant will train traditional birth attendants in home-based lifesaving skills, while also encouraging them to make prompt referrals to the clinic to ensure safe births. It will also strengthen the clinic’s community-based healthcare program, including the promotion of breastfeeding, nutrition, vaccinations for children under five-years-old, and preventive healthcare.

Reservoir with well under construction at John Dean Town Clinic. ~photo courtesy of Mary Zigbuo

Reservoir with well under construction at John Dean Town Clinic. ~photo courtesy of Mary Zigbuo

Through the hospital systems strengthening grant, Global Health supported the renovation of the clinics at John Dean Town, Weala, Camphor, and Diecke, including the installation of water wells. Prior to this, the clinics were not equipped with pipe-borne water systems. The grant also provided motor bikes for each clinic, to enhance community outreach for health education.

I am humbled and excited to be part of a diverse support network to ensure the people of Little Kola Clan, and other parts of Liberia, have access to quality healthcare and the chance to experience Christ’s love through the services of our UMC health facilities.




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