Kambia Update – Winter 2022

Welcome to our winter 2022 newsletter! On behalf of the Trustees, thank you so much for your interest and support of the Kambia Appeal.

With the merger of the Department for International Development and the Foreign Office into what is now called the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office or FCDO for short, coupled with the reduction in the overseas aid budget, we were shocked to learn that the Health Partnership Scheme, operated on behalf of the FCDO by THET, was terminated more or less overnight. We were just about to submit an application for a Pediatric Mentoring programme similar to our MCHA programme, so we were devastated, as THET and the HPS scheme have been our major source of funding for many years.

However, using funds from our existing supporters and from some smaller trusts and foundations, we are able to continue to support our MCHA mentoring project and our scholarship scheme and we have agreed to fund some PHU renovations.

Scholarship Programme
We currently have five people in training, 2 are about to come to the end of their community midwifery course – Hasanatu Bangura and Adama Conteh – who are both now coming to the end of their delayed (Covid) final year, their final exams were held on the 19 September 2022 with the state final in November. After the state final exams they will be posted for an internship of 6 months of practical in a health facility.

We have started 3 more people as follows:
Mariatu A. Kamara – Midwifery (2 years)
Mabinty K. Sillah – Community Health Assistant (3 years)
Ballah Marrah – BSc Public Health. (3 years)

Mabinty and Ballah’s qualifications are as follows (as described by the new DMO, John Yillia):

“Ballah Marrah prior to his departure for studies was a Community Health Officer and acted in the capacity of District Cold Chain Technician. He was manning one of our Health Facilities and was managing medical cases of different categories, majority of them being Children and lactating mothers. On some occasions, he was called upon to help in the management of pregnant cases as the case may be. He is pursuing studies in Public Health at the level of Bachelor degree which he will leverage to better manage cases and also increase his skills at disease surveillance upon completion of his studies.

In the case of Ms Mabinty Sillah, she is a Maternal and Child Health Nurse by training and she was assigned to one of our Facilities. She was predominantly engaged in routine vaccinations and outreach services. She was also managing pregnancy cases ensuring their outcomes are successful. She is doing a three-year Community Health Assistant diploma course in Medicine. Given her background in Maternal and Child health care, it is anticipated, on completion of the course will enhance her skills and knowledge in the management of Children and Pregnant women”.

We hope, with your support, to enrol two to three new people every year, to undergo a qualification dictated by the needs of Kambia. The benefit of trained health care workers is one of the most valuable things we can do.

PHU Refurbishment
We were asked to provide funds to help with the refurbishment of a PHU in the village of Rokai, specifically to provide the staff quarters, and this is now coming to completion.

We were also asked if we were willing to assist with refurbishment generally of PHUs and we agreed that we could and would commit a small amount each year towards this. We were and are wary of large-scale construction projects but as PHUs are a priority for the District Health Management Team we are keen to help if we can. To this end we have agreed to set aside between £5 to £8k per annum and have been sent a list of PHUs that require work, as the DMO said to us, “please could you help us to fix the roofs if nothing
else so that the rains do not get in” this is something we feel we can do and have been given a list of PHUs that require support. The cost of the work needed varies from £2,500 to £5,500.

The MCHA Mentoring Project
We are continuing with this project and have been asked to make a couple of amendments to the assessment tool to include a teaching session on the BP machines we sent out, this is a simple task but getting the amended file sent to Kambia is more challenging, as downloading large files is not easy with no internet other than your mobile phone! However, we are sending out some more equipment – C-Section kits – so will include some pre-loaded USB sticks.

Who’s who – Kambia
We have a new DMO, Dr. Yillah, who seems very approachable and keen to work with us, and we have also re-established direct contact with the Hospital Superintendent so that we are including the hospital as well as the wider district in any training and mentoring programmes, and any equipment requests.

Shopping via Amazon?
As always, if you think you might be doing any online shopping via Amazon, would you consider accessing the site via the link at the foot of our home page?

Once you’ve clicked on the link you can ‘bookmark’ it on Google Chrome / Firefox / Safari or whatever web browser you use, to save having to remember to do it via our website each time, it will be there on your computer browser.

Amazon will then donate a percentage to us at no cost to you! Please forward the link to any of your
friends or family who might consider supporting us too – thank you!

And finally ….
If you would like to donate to enable us to deliver further rounds of mentoring in Kambia, or fix the leaking roofs in the health centres or train more health care workers, this can be done via the website or you can send any donations to Treasurer, The Kambia Appeal, 62 Oxmoor, Abbeydale, Gloucester GL4 5XW.

Thank You!