Our good friends and colleagues at the Praxis Network Tiyatien Health are doing incredible work in Liberia, and they could use our help as they grapple with the refugee crisis stemming from the civil war in Ivory Coast. Below we provide a letter from our dear friend Tiyatien’s co-founder Dr. Raj Panjabi, himself a survivor of Liberia’s own civil war:
I read the recent news from Ivory Coast with mixed emotions. While former Ivorian President Gbagbo’s arrest on April 11 represents a turning point in the post-election conflict, the shockwave of violence has created a massive refugee crisis in neighboring Liberia, where my colleagues and I at Tiyatien Health (TH) work.
A report from Human Rights Watch, just published from TH’s birthplace in Grand Gedeh County, documents massacres of hundreds of civilians in Western Ivory Coast. This violence has shocked us and forced more than 125,000 Ivorian refugees to pour over the border into our region in recent weeks.
With our partners, including the Liberian Ministry of Health, we are now providing medical care for over 40,000 refugees, overwhelming an already fragile rural public health system that we have worked for over four years to rebuild.
TH’s health workers — many of whom were recently Liberian refugees in Ivory Coast — are providing medical care to Ivorian refugees and saving lives of women and children, who are in dire need of medical care.
Our response has stretched from the camps to the clinic. TH’s health workers continue to backstop Tubman Hospital and we have launched a community and ambulance referral system to provide life-saving services for mothers in obstructed labor, people with gunshot wounds, and others with HIV/AIDS and mental trauma.
Many of you have reached out to our team asking how you can help. Tiyatien Health needs your support to sustain and strengthen our efforts to provide for for the desittute sick — Ivorian and Liberian alike. Here’s what you can do:
- Read Tiyatien Health’s press release from April 5 and view photos from the refugee camps in Liberia.
- Read an interview that Dr. Yesero Kalisa, TH’s Clinical Director, and I shared withPopTech and Forbes.com.
- Read a report from the Human Rights Watch, published from Zwedru, detailing the war atrocities that have forced more than 125,000 Ivorians to flee into Liberia.
- DONATE – Tiyatien Health urgently needs funding to provide life-saving treatment and care for Ivorian refugees. Click here to give today.
- VOLUNTEER – TH is seeking 2-3 health care volunteers who can rapidly depart for Liberia and serve 8-12 weeks in Zwedru. Click here to learn more and join the team.
- Forward this email on to interested friends and volunteers.
- Follow Tiyatien Health on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates.
- Read formal press releases updated on www.tiyatienhealth.org/press
This is an important moment for Liberia, Ivory Coast, and West Africa.
The name of our organization — “tiyatien” — is the local word for truth and justice. The name was chosen by survivors of Liberia’s war — a powerful statement proving that humanity can still rise from the ashes of violence in Grand Gedeh.
When we returned home after war, we knew the road ahead would be long and difficult. Today, through linking arms, we still have faith that humanity will overcome the challenges that lie ahead and that together we will build a healthier, more prosperous life for us all.
Love and comfort for the people we serve and those who serve with us,