Key medical figures:
• 73,300 outpatient consultations
• 2,200 births assisted
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has begun reorienting its work to focus on improving medical care for children and its capacity for diagnosing Lassa fever.
More than a decade has passed since the end of the civil war, but Sierra Leone is still recovering. Healthcare gaps are systemic and nationwide, and access to quality healthcare remains a major challenge for the population. Although the government initiative offering free healthcare to pregnant women and children is improving access, many people still die from treatable diseases such as malaria, measles, acute respiratory infection and Lassa fever, a viral haemorrhagic fever endemic in the country.
In Bo district, MSF runs the Gondama referral centre, a 220-bed hospital offering emergency paediatric and obstetric services. In 2013, ambulances transported patients from nine community health centres to the hospital, and an additional ambulance service took patients with Lassa fever to Kenema hospital for treatment. MSF also supports Gondama health centre, a nearby clinic run by the Ministry of Health to diagnose and treat those who had come into close contact with the children. MSF provided outpatient care for children and their families wherever possible, along with nutritional and psychosocial support to help them adhere to the difficult treatment. Hospitalised children took part in MSF-organised activities to aid their development, and teams also conducted activities to decrease the stigma surrounding the disease. Ministry of Health, with staff, medicines and medical materials.
MSF plans to build a 160-bed hospital closer to Bo town that will provide better access for patients, staff and supplies. The new, more spacious facility will also allow for better infection control protocols, and will include a proper isolation ward and a modern laboratory.
No. staff end 2013: 619 | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1986