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Flourish Feb07

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  • 1. 17 FLOURISH • FEBRUARY 2007 FEATURE Glasgow doctor Eileen Reilly is providing a much needed lifeline to Liberia’s mothers and babies No way could I walk away from where my skills are needed WHEN Eileen Reilly volun- water in the clinic - I have to use by Maria Gilmore buckets collected from a well to teered to work in Liberia, wash my hands and instruments. she was afraid she might Royal Alexandra Hospital in “And we only have electricity Paisley and Greenock Royal not fit in. for a few hours at a time thanks to Infirmary. But having spent a year deliv- a generator.” She said: “I felt unfulfilled in Eileen added: “Everything is ering babies, the consultant obste- my work here, I needed another doubly hard for a pregnant trician cannot break the cord that challenge. The minute I was there woman. ties her to a people who desper- I felt like my work was making a “Women have a low status in ately need her expertise. difference. I could clearly see the Liberia anyway, but many are in The 39 year-old Glasgow need.” dreadful positions after losing doctor, who resumed her mission The doctor, who grew up in their husbands in wars or being after spending Christmas and Bishopbriggs and was latterly a raped. If it is their first pregnancy, New Year back home, said: “I parishioner of St Paul’s, they are at higher risk of malaria had to stay in Liberia where my Whiteinch, admits that her first and anaemia. skills were really needed. She is in the process of “When I first saw the clinic I impression of her new base was: Day for Religious “With malnutrition and a lack “It is so common for mums was astounded as they didn’t building eight birthing rooms and “What a disaster area!” of any kind of infrastructure or and babies to die in childbirth in even had scales to weigh babies, setting up educational workshops proper medical facilities, it is no Struggle Liberia that I realised there was Archbishop Conti marks the never mind basics as oxygen and to teach the women about basic wonder so many women and no way I could just leave them Church's day of Consecrated At St Luke’s clinic in essential medicines. nutrition. babies die.” and return to Scotland.” Life by celebrating Mass with Tubmanburg - a rural town about “The first birth I saw was in The clinic also hope to take Women risk a one in16 chance Eileen first went to Liberia in the Religious of the 50 miles from the capital this horribly dark, messy room over a nearby military hospital of dying during pregnancy or 2005 with Scottish International Archdiocese on Saturday 3 Monrovia - Eileen treats 100,000 with this tiny bed stuck in the soon. childbirth. In industrialised coun- Relief. For over a decade the February at 1pm in St people from across the Bomi corner on which the poor woman She said: “As I am going back tries that chance is only one in charity has been supporting the Hills area. Andrew's Cathedral, Clyde was sort of lying half-on and half- for the foreseeable future, my aim 4000. work of Fr Garry Jenkins, of the She said; “Everyday is a Street. Members of religious off. is to set up properly organised Despite the hardships, people SMA Fathers, in the west African struggle for people in Liberia. congregations, serving across “I knew then that I had a lot of medical care focusing on maternity. have a great enthusiasm for life. country. Their first task each day is to find the Archdiocese in a variety of work to do.” “Beyond that I don’t know - but And it was their eagerness to She secured a year’s unpaid water then to think about food. But as well as shocking sights, apostolates, are due to join welcome her that ensured Eileen I can safely say I have got the bug sabbatical from her bosses at the “We don’t even have running Eileen has also seen the positive the celebrations. was gripped. as far as working in Africa goes.” impact her work and that of clinic “Your skills can go so much funders Scottish International further. Even the smallest things www.franciscanvocations.org.uk Relief (SIR) have on a struggling, that we take for granted can really post-war community. make a difference.” Liberia has only 30 registered Amazing doctors and other medical staff She said: “There have been FOR WOMEN EXPLORING have poor, if any, training. some fabulous experiences. Many women give birth at “All the children are gorgeous home, miles from anywhere, with and seeing a baby come back only a birth attendant to help. FRANCISCAN VOCATION from the brink of death is Eileen said: “Sometimes I am amazing. horrified by the lack of proper “That is what keeps me in facilities, knowledge and skill. Liberia - watching a malnour- “It makes even the simplest of ished baby put on weight and procedures unbearably difficult. begin to act like a baby again. “That is compounded by what “And it is wonderful to see the staff there is completely lacking mum find enjoyment in her baby motivation as they are poorly St Margaret of again and rebuild their relation- paid. When I first arrived I was ship.” overwhelmed by what I saw ... Scotland Hospice Eileen now runs a well-organ- barefoot children in ragged clothes, dirt, flies and mud. ised clinic, acting almost like a GP. Please support our Fern’s birthday bash is icing on the cake New Build Appeal GLASGOW YOUNGSTER Fern Robertson has just Missions Primary on the southside of Glasgow. celebrated her eighth birthday. She was alerted to the Mary’s Meal initiative But already her selflessness is helping feed 57 years after the parish adopted it as its Jesse Tree bene- hundreds of children around the world. ficiary during Advent. For instead of indulging herself with gifts on Fr Noel Burke, parish priest of Holy Name, of Care in the Community her 29 December birthday, Fern asked her pals to said: “Our parish was much taken by the great donate money to Scottish International Relief’s Mary’s Meals project. work of SIR and Mary’s Meals. This was exem- East Barns Street, Clydebank G81 1EG And her big-hearted gesture boosted the plified by the initiative adopted by Fern. charity’s funds by over £200. In places like “When you consider that children here can Tel 0141 952 1141 Fax 0141 951 4206 Malawi, Peru and Liberia where Mary’s Meals spend £5 on just one fast-food meal, it is Email office@smh.org.uk or visit operate £5 can guarantee a daily meal for chil- amazing that it costs only £5 to feed a child for a dren for a whole year. www.smh.org.uk whole year. Thanks to Fern and her friends that Fern is a parishioner of Holy Name, Mansewood, and pupil at Our Lady of the message is getting across to more people.”