Our Primary focus is on improving maternal and child health in the Kambia District. We work in partnership with Kambia DHMT to strengthening the capacity and quality of the local government healthcare services. We do this by addressing some of the key weaknesses in the existing health system:
- A severe shortage of qualified health staff at work in the district
- Lack on-going training programmes for existing health staff
- Limited management capacity of KDHMT to provide regular supervision of health staff
- Lack of basic medical equipment and supplies at health facilities
We support the Kambia DHMT by designing training programmes with them that are delivered by health volunteers from the UK. Volunteers work with district health officials to devise suitable training formats and curricula that follow Sierra Leone Ministry of Health policy guidelines. Volunteers work in Kambia for a minimum of six months to implement and monitor these projects.
Current district training needs include:
- Regular assessment and refresher training for 160 MCHAs at 69 rural health centres
- Roll out the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health’s new adolescent reproductive health training package to district staff
One of the main causes of poor maternal and child health in Sierra Leone is early child-bearing (teenage pregnancy) which is motivated by extreme economic stress on family households. Kambia is one of the poorest districts in Sierra Leone and sees correspondingly high levels of early pregnancy. In fact, Kambia has the highest rate of pregnancy in girls aged 11-19 years in the country, at 11%. For further information about this situation, see a recent national-wide study.
We are currently in consultation with Kambia DHMT to design a volunteer-led project to support local efforts to improve reproductive health services for adolescents. Project elements will include:
- A training programme for health staff to deliver Sierra Leone’s National Training Kit on Adolescent and Young People’s Health for Healthcare Providers
- Reproductive health promotion in schools via peer-mentors
- Community promotion of the health and economic benefits of family planning and of ending early pregnancy and forced marriage/union.
In line with national and international priorities and policies
We work in close collaboration with the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation through our local partners in Kambia – the Kambia District Health Management Team (KDHMT)and the Kambia District Council. Our agenda is set by local needs as prioritised in the Sierra Leone National Health Sector Strategic Plans and the Kambia District Development Plans and through regular consulations with partners in Sierra LEone. Our work is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 5 to reduce maternal and child mortality and to ensure a gender equality in accessing health care.
To make a financial contribution to support our work you can make a secure online donation here:
Health Services in Sierra Leone
The 1992-2002 civil war in Sierra Leone severely undermined the functioning of the health system. Many health workers were killed or displaced; access to health care was disrupted as people were forced to flee to neighbouring countries. Much of the country’s health infrastructure (including hospitals and community-based ‘peripheral health units’, or PHUs) was damaged or destroyed. A good recovery was being made in the country following the end of the conflict in terms of health and economic development until the recent Ebola outbreak, which has severely impacted on health and livelihoods.