Acting upon critical communications received from Connaught Hospital’s Care Manager, Dr. Desmond Olu-Black, through Sierra Leone’s Minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment, Hope of Africa’s Director Abigail Thomas is directing a swift fundraising effort, starting with a formal black tie dinner dance to be held this Saturday, October 11th, 2008 at 7:00pm to 1:00am at The Westin Atlanta Airport (College Park 30349).
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment, Rtd Captain Benjamin Davies would be flying to Atlanta, at the request of the Hope of Africa’s Director, to deliver the fundraising event’s keynote address.
Hope of Africa, a nonprofit organization, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia and registered as an NGO in Freetown, Sierra Leone, is taking the lead in organizing communications and funds to directly impact Sierra Leone’s health care system; particularly care to mothers and infants at Sierra Leone’s oldest operating hospital, Connaught Hospital, built in 1912 by the Duke of Connaught, Prince Arthur. It was recently re-opened in 2006, alongside the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH).
With a public commitment to raise $30,000 for these efforts, Hope of Africa’s Executive Director Abigail Thomas noted that “We take Dr. Olu-Black’s official communication regarding the critical need for hospital equipments and consumable medical supplies as Hope of Africa’s duty, and we intend to fulfill on that duty; with a shipment to Connaught Hospital by mid-January.”
In an official letter dated September 7th, 2008, Dr. Olu-Black requested basic equipments, such as operating tables and lights, pulse oximeters, and suction machines. ”The situation in Sierra Leone’s major hospitals is troubling,” confirms Heather Cole-Lewis, a young American-Sierra Leonean Public Health doctoral candidate and recent graduate of Emory University. Not unlike other young men and women of Sierra Leonean descent living in the United States, she recently completed an internship in Freetown’s hospitals this year, as a way of rendering services to Sierra Leone. “There was no running water in the hospital — and at times no electricity. Basic supplies such as gloves and disinfectants were scarce and not easy to come by,” she added.
These and other conditions have taken their toll, with Sierra Leone having the highest maternity mortality rate and the second highest infant mortality rate in the world. Hope of Africa is pledging to allocate all of its proceeds from the 11th October dinner and dance fund-raiser, as well as donations gathered from their international communications outreach, to secure requested equipment and supplies.
Their operational objective is to load and ship these goods across the Atlantic Ocean to Freetown and offload the cargo directly into the hands of Connaught Hospital authorities.
This would fulfill on Hope of Africa’s first mission to Sierra Leone’s hospitals, a promise first publicly announced at their successful fashion show fundraiser held this summer at the Georgia World Congress Center.