Sali knew something was not right that day, and it worried her greatly. She was about to give birth and wanted to be prepared. Like most women in Guinea-Bissau, she would bear her child at home. She went to collect fresh water before the day became too hot.

Suddenly, around 9 p.m., Sali felt a sharp pain that very nearly took her breath away. She dropped to her knees and cried out for help. Her family struggled to get her to our Franciscan hospital in Cumura, which was about 10 miles from her home. The condition of the road was very poor.

As soon as our hospital staff examined her, they knew there was a problem. Sali was malnourished and very weak, and she had not felt any fetal movement in a while.

Sali was heartbroken when her infant daughter was stillborn.

Her loss pierced the hearts of our Franciscan missionaries and the staff at the hospital.

That is why I am writing to you.

Father Armando Cossa, OFM, from the Custody of St. Francis of Assisi in Guinea-Bissau, has submitted an emergency request for funding to purchase an ambulance to help mothers like Sali reach our hospital as quickly as possible to save lives.

The cost of the ambulance is only $51,336! It is a small price to pay to save the precious lives of infants and mothers experiencing difficult births.

Guinea-Bissau is one of the poorest countries in Africa. About 70 percent of the population lives in what is considered moderate poverty, living on less than $2 US per day, while 33 percent live in extreme poverty, living on less than a dollar per day.

According to a UNICEF report, the infant mortality rate is 89 per 100 live births in Guinea Bissau. Maternal mortality is 900 per 100,000 live births and neonatal mortality is 35.8 per 1,000 live births. These statistics are significantly higher than the average for West Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Your gift today to help pay for this new ambulance will save lives for years to come!

This year the hospital has been overwhelmed by the number of patients that have arrived seeking emergency care. There are 122 beds and, often, that is just not enough.

Many of the patients must walk for miles on jungle trails to get to our hospital. The high demand has nearly depleted the available inventory of medicine.

The general hospital wing has beds for pediatric and maternity patients and beds for people suffering from life-threatening diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, leprosy, malaria, and COVID-19. There is an outpatient clinic and an emergency room.

Fr. Armando has also requested emergency funds of $25,000 to replenish their depleted inventory of medicine so they can continue treating poor villagers suffering from life-threatening diseases.

I had no choice but to help, so I asked our treasurer, Father Joy, to send an emergency check for $25,000 right away. There is no way to squeeze $51,366 for the new ambulance out of our already tight budget.

I pray you will understand the urgency of our current situation. Can you offer your prayers and financial support today to help me raise the additional funds to purchase a new ambulance for our Franciscan hospital in Cumura, Guinea-Bissau?

Please help as best you can. Any gift would make a difference and help save lives for years to come!

With a humble heart, I thank you for your continued kindness and faithful support of Franciscan Missions.

Peace and blessings,

Brother Andrew Brophy, OFM

Executive Director

P.S. With deepest gratitude, I pray our Lord blesses you for generously helping Franciscan missionaries provide ambulance transport when needed and medical services to people suffering from life-threatening diseases.