Due to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, EMERGENCY is running the only fully functional healthcare facilities in Freetown.
According to the latest report from the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health, 783 cases of Ebola have been confirmed in the country, 20 in Freetown alone.
“The isolation wards for Ebola I’ve seen at the EMERGENCY hospital in Sierra Leone are impressive.” – Dr. Dan Kelly, UCSF Infectious Disease Specialist
– One of the two Ebola isolation wards at the EMERGENCY hospital in Sierra Leone
The local pediatric hospital, Ola During Children Hospital, is closed; the Connaught Hospital is operating erratically due to the absence of medical personnel, frightened by the spreading infection and afraid of catching the virus.
The latest official report from the World Health Organization states that in the country 52 health workers have been infected with Ebola and 28 of them are dead.
Private hospitals closed last week: they are not prepared to handle the outbreak and they are not legally required to stay open.
Because of the Ebola crisis, Sierra Leone’s already very weak health system is collapsing. The people suffering the consequences are those who are unable to receive the care they need for: malaria, typhus, infections and surgical emergencies that continue to be a daily problem for the population which, is no longer able to find any kind of assistance in the public health facilities.
In this serious crisis situation EMERGENCY continues to guarantee surgical and pediatric assistance, being the only point of reference in the city that is still operational.
“Yesterday afternoon we received a 2 year-old child who was unconscious due to cerebral malaria. We provided him with antimalarial treatment. Toward the evening, when he was finally hemodynamically stable, we decided to transfer him to the Ola During Children Hospital because our hospital was overflowing.
When we arrived there we found the gates closed: we were told that there was no one there,” explains Luca Rolla, EMERGENCY‘s Medical Coordinator in Sierra Leone.
In order to guarantee care for the most children possible, the guestrooms normally reserved for patient family members at our hospital have also been temporarily converted into a ward to increase the number of available beds.
The Military Hospital in Freetown has asked EMERGENCY to train the military on the use of personal protection devices to treat patients who are potentially infected with the virus.
With the declaration of a state of emergency on July 30th Sierra Leone had decided to mobilize the military in order to guarantee observance of the safety procedures to prevent the spreading of Ebola.
From the beginning of the outbreak EMERGENCY has quarantined 6 patients, fortunately none of them were infected with the Ebola. In order to handle the risk of infection all of our personnel take maximum care in using protection devices: in a surgical center the risk of contact with biological fluids is extremely high. We have limited family visits and we have also set up two isolation tents where suspected cases can be treated.
EMERGENCY has been in Sierra Leone since 2001, our Goderich Surgical Center and Pediatric Center, in the suburbs of the capital, have provided high-standard free-of-charge care for about 500,000 people.
To learn more about the high-standard free-of-charge surgical and pediatric care provided at our hospital in Sierra Leone, please click here. To help us protect our staff from Ebola so they can continue to treat people at the only hospital of it’s kind in Sierra Leone, please click here to donate now.