The current global crisis has brought so many aspects of life, that we had maybe thought less important than in past years, back to the forefront of our minds. The importance of effective communication being one such part of of our lives. We've taken everything for granted, popping to family and friends, shopping and particularly a hug when we meet those we know and love. In what seems like the blink of an eye, the world and life have changed beyond recognition, possibly temporarily, maybe on a more permanent basis. At this moment, we don't know, but we have to marvel at the ingenuity of the human spirit in finding whole new ways of supporting each other. At times, communication technology can be a burden, but in this situation, tools such as Skype, FaceTime, Zoom etc have proven to be priceless.
We in LFAM have had to put one of our two core activities on hold, that of sending our amazing midwives to Sierra Leone and Liberia, plus we were almost at the point of adding Ghana and Benin to our partner countries, when everything stopped. We have a growing database of volunteers ready and willing to travel and share their skills with local midwives. When that will happen, we don't know. They are as keen to learn from their sisters and brothers, who are working in these most challenging environments, which are likely to be hit by this pandemic, as we in the UK have been; however the impact for them will be that much greater and longer lasting. For midwives and doctors in Sierra Leone and Liberia, who endured the tragedy of Ebola 5yrs ago, the terms lockdown and social distancing are no strangers. Major cultural changes had to be introduced and life was never the same. They have also faced flooding and landslides, disaster after disaster, yet their community spirits and determination got them through, ready to face yet another challenge!
LFAM has continued to send our life saving medications and as we write, a shipment of Misoprostol is being prepared and will be on its way to Sierra Leone, with a further shipment for Somaliland and Liberia soon afterwards. We must say a huge thank you to International Health Partners who, despite the challenges are continuing to ship medications across the world to some of the poorest countries on our planet. Finding flights to transport our medications is just one challenge they face. We were fortunate to visit IHP's HQ in London before the crisis hit and were totally inspired by the commitment, meticulous attention to detail and the family atmosphere we witnessed. We were accompanied by Sam Falloon, our Midwife Trustee and Kabir Miah, from Muntada Aid, one of our funders for the midwifery visits.
We have asked some of our partners to contribute to this newsletter, to explain how this current crisis is affecting them. We are obviously aware of how the restrictions here in the UK are affecting everyone, but we thought that having these reports will show how countries with poor infrastructures, very limited healthcare systems and no financial safety-net are having to deal with this invisible enemy. The overwhelming outpouring of love for our incredible NHS, social care staff and all the other essential, but often invisible people out there has been without precedent and we are sure will bring a renewed appreciation for what is the envy of so many countries.