JORMED Hosts Clinic for Students
For many of the 350 elementary and junior high students at the Darussalam International Islamic Mission of Liberia, 6 June turned out to be their first opportunity to meet a doctor.
That was the day the Jordanian Medical Contingent (JORMED) of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) descended on their school to host a free medical clinic. Thirty Jordanian doctors and nurses, specializing in dermatology, pediatrics, internal medicine, and ear, nose and throat (ENT) medicine, brought their equipment, stocked pharmacy, and expertise to the school to examine the children and treat them for various illnesses. Members of the parent-teacher association also benefited from the free medical outreach.
“We want to help these people. We want to give them clinical care and medical care because there is a lot of disease, especially tropical disease,” said Dr. Rami Al Qsous, JORMED Deputy Medical Commander. “They can’t take proper care of themselves here. There are no clinics.”
One by one, children were assessed by a general physician and, if deemed necessary, sent inside to one of the four classrooms that had been transformed into specialized clinics.
“We’re hosting a free medical day to be in contact with the people in our community,” said Dr. Fawzi Al Khawaldeh, Medical Commander of JORMED. “We are supporting them by medication. We are supporting them also by food, by giving them school bags. This is only the first day.”
On June 10, a second outreach event of a smaller scale was held at a nearby school, and additional outreach events are being planned for later in the year. The clinics are being sponsored by the Jordanian government, which funded everything from the food and book bags that were distributed to the children, to the medication itself. JORMED is also funding the restoration of the school’s mosque.
“I give all the thanks to God, the Jordan Government and UNMIL,” said Alhaji Sannoh, Executive Director of the school, who also founded it in 2009. “We appreciate it very much. We are very much in need of healthcare since we don’t have the facilities.”
For this 150 person-strong JORMED contingent that arrived four months ago, this was their first outreach event. However, as Lt.-Col. James Mosser, Chief of Civil Military Coordination (CIMIC) and G-5 for UNMIL pointed out, JORMED has a strong history of outreach in the country.
“JORMED outreach events are very elaborate as far as the amount of expertise they have, the variety of doctors and nurses that are there, and the amount of medication they give out,” he said. “They’re not required to do this. It’s all of their own initiative, on their own time, and it’s very admirable.”
Despite the success of this event, says Lt.-Col. Mosser, CIMIC projects of the future will be primarily focused on capacity building. “What we don’t want to do is to continue to have the local population have a dependency on UNMIL. As part of the mission’s outreach programmes, one of the ways we want to alleviate that is to, ideally, have a Government of Liberia agency in the lead or at least be involved with the coordination and the planning of the event.”