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Redemption Hospital Reopens
August 21, 2003
For the first time in nearly two months, Redemption Hospital - the only public hospital serving the over one million residents of the Liberian capital of Monrovia - reopened its doors yesterday.
"A pregnant woman in labor came in as soon as we opened this morning and she gave birth by 9:30, before the doctor could even get here!" said midwife Benetta Alice Jackson as she showed off 'Baby Girl,' the first baby born in Redemption Hospital's newly reopened obstetric ward.
Redemption Hospital, or "Reba" as it is called by staff and residents, was forced to close on June 24 when fighting in Monrovia made providing patient care in the hospital too dangerous. MSF, which has supported Redemption since 1999, quickly moved hospital staff and essential equipment, including two surgical theaters, to the relative safety of an MSF residence compound in the center of the city.
During the fiercest weeks of fighting in Monrovia in July and August, the MSF Mamba Point Hospital, along with a second MSF field hospital in Mamba Point, provided some of the only medical care available in the entire city. MSF and Redemption Hospital staff worked around-the-clock under extremely difficult and dangerous conditions to care for patients suffering from war wounds, malnutrition, cholera, and other illnesses.
Now that calm has returned to Monrovia, MSF plans to reopen Redemption Hospital in stages, beginning with the emergency room, and the in-patient adult and obstetric wards that opened yesterday. New Kru Town Clinic, which provides out-patient services at Redemption, has been open since last week.
Located on the frontlines of the fighting between Liberian government forces and LURD rebels in northern Monrovia, Redemption Hospital suffered minor damage and some looting of medical equipment and supplies. Yesterday, MSF logistics staff was busy installing a new generator, repairing the roof, restocking the pharmacy, and painting the patient wards.
"After working so hard for so many days and nights at the Mamba Point Hospital, everyone is excited to return to Redemption," says MSF surgeon Juanita Angulo Bonilla. "Reopening Redemption gives everyone hope that a sense of normalcy will return to Monrovia again soon."