While the Ebola emergency is officially over in Sierra Leone, the epidemic has severely weakened an already struggling national health system. The need for health care support is still huge. This is why a few months ago EMERGENCY opened a new First Aid Post (FAP) in Lokomasama, Sierra Leone. The hospital offers free first aid treatment for people living in the countryside, where access to healthcare is extremely difficult.
National and International staff there are working 24/7 to guarantee high-quality and free-of-charge services; while Health Promoters are visiting the surrounding villages to inform people about the new centre and our activities.
Connecting the hospital with local communities is very important: it ensures people are informed about the possibility to receive free-of-charge healthcare, a quite unusual thing in Sierra Leone. Local Health Promoters, trained by EMERGENCY, are vital to provide people with basic information about healthcare and, most of all, to invite them into the hospital in case of injuries or accident. Gaining the trust of people from rural villages is fundamental to do our job properly. Local staff plays a key role in raising awareness about our commitment.
EMERGENCY has been awarded a special prize by the President of Sierra Leone for its efforts in the fight against Ebola. We are honoured to receive this prize and we would like to share it with every single one of you who supported us during this long battle. Thank you!
“On Tuesday, we carried out Examination Number 1000 at the Ebola diagnosis lab that EMERGENCY has been running since August at the pediatric and maternal/infants’ hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone,” writes Luca, our coordinator in that country.
On November 8th, the WHO declared that the epidemic in the country was over, but that doesn’t mean we can lower our defenses: the WHO itself recommended a period of “high surveillance” to ensure that any suspected cases are noted straight away and thereby avoid any new spreading of the virus.
The work of our laboratory will continue throughout this period, until the end of February, thanks also to the support of the Italian Cooperation.
Our lab is located in one of the most crowded hospitals of the capital and, given its target of children and women about to give birth, it is strategically important.
We’re now waiting for February, hoping with all our heart we’ll be able to write that Sierra Leone won’t need EMERGENCY any more, at least in its battle against Ebola.
The good news about the end of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone must not make us forget that this country still needs us: the epidemic has, in fact, made the already weak health system even more precarious.
That’s why our commitment towards the people of Sierra Leone goes on: at our Surgical and Pediatric Center in Goderich, a point of reference for the whole country, and at the new First Aid Post in Lokomasama that we opened just a few days ago.
In Lokomasama, our local staff guarantee first aid assistance 24 hours a day (“Continuity like this isn’t so common in Sierra Leone,” explains Luca, our coordinator in the country) and are always ready to transfer urgent patients to Goderich, thanks to our ambulance.
The Lokomasama First Aid Post was set up in collaboration with the European Union – EU Delegation to Sierra Leone.
Hooray! Great news from Sierra Leone! Yesterday the last Ebola patient in the country was discharged, completely recovered. This is a huge milestone. But now, the countdown begins: Sierra Leone needs 42 consecutive days with no new cases to be declared officially free of Ebola.
We can only say an enormous thank you to all of the Ebola fighters, both EMERGENCY‘s international/local staff and everyone else, who have worked tirelessly fighting against this virus in the past year. They can now take a well-deserved rest, while still remaining vigilant until the end of the countdown.
To help support our international and local staff at our Ebola Treatment Centers in Sierra Leone