Patients visited in OPD
Children visited every day
100 children treated every day in 18 years. Our commitment with the population in the country
The disastrous consequences of a bitter civil war in the early 2000s and one of the most aggressive Ebola epidemics the world has ever seen have brought an already compromised and fragile health system to its knees. The repercussions on the economic, social and health spheres continue to worsen the living conditions of the population of Sierra Leone which today – according to recent data from the WHO (World Health Organization) – records some of the highest levels of infant mortality in the world.
Our intervention in the country
We began working in Sierre Leone in 2001, opening a Surgical Centre created for war victims and subsequently expanded to the treatment of orthopaedic patients and all surgical emergencies.
The opening of the Paediatric Centre in 2002
A few months after the inauguration of the Surgical Centre, in the same hospital complex, a paediatric centre was added: we could not ignore the enormous need for care for children under the age of 14. Malaria, gastrointestinal infections and respiratory tract infections are the most common diseases, often associated with or caused by malnutrition. Malaria is one of the main causes of death amongst the youngest children.
The most serious cases were hospitalised in the paediatric ward, on average over 120 per month. The Centre’s staff also provided health education lessons, to promote good health practices and the prevention of the most common diseases.
The staff at the Centre maintains health promotion lessons aimed at promoting good health practice and the prevention of the most common diseases.
A guesthouse for relatives or other people accompanying patients arriving from far away has been made available.
The nutritional programme
In order to counter malnutrition and malnutrition, since 2005, we have activated a specific program: in addition to care activities, we monitor the weight of children, distribute food to families, and teach how to associate locally available foods to provide complete nutrition to the youngest.
Health promotion programme
In 2015, together with the European Union – EU Delegation in Sierra Leone, we started a health promotion programme in 60 primary schools in the Western Area Rural District for children, teachers and reference communities. Our staff organises information meetings on good hygiene practices, the importance of vaccination, the risks of malaria and the correct nutrition of the baby.
Within the same program we offered scholastic support for hospitalised children who were followed by two teachers with individual and group lessons for the entire duration of hospitalization.
2020: the end of paediatric activities in the country
In agreement with the local Ministry of Health and following plans to open government hospitals dedicated to healthcare provision for mothers and children, we ended paediatric activities at our hospital on 29 February 2020.
Over the years, EMERGENCY guaranteed free, high-quality care to over 380,000 paediatric patients.
We will continue to focus on surgical and trauma care in the country, where we have been present for almost twenty years,.
The ‘Soda Programme’ will also continue, aimed at treating children who ingest caustic soda, as well as cardiological screening activities for patients that are transferred and operated on at our Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery in Sudan, thanks to the Regional Programme that is active in over 28 countries.
A focus group was also formed, together with the Ministry of Health, to maximise the efficiency of surgical patient transfers and an appropriate division of labour between Connaught Hospital, the main adult referral hospital in Sierra Leone, and our Surgical Centre.
VIDEO: GIVING HOPE TO SIERRA LEONE'S CHILDREN
The civil war, which ended in 2002, left enormous gaps in the country’s infrastructure and the needs of the population today are great. Life expectancy is 51 years, and the mortality rate for children aged five and under is 120 per 1,000 births.