Giving the oppressed country a future

A children hospital in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is a small country in the West of Africa. With its long coastline, its white beaches and the fasincating nature of the tropical rain forests it is considered a natural paradise. Despite all this, Sierra Leone is not considered a classic destination for tourists and instagramers. Until 2002 a bloody civil war was raging for over a decade. Especially the news about the number of child soldiers fighting within this civil war shocked the world. Countless people lost their lives, families were torn apart and large parts of the population fell into poverty. In 2003 Cap Anamur took up its work in this war-stricken country. The healthcare system collapsed and so it was paramount to quickly establish an infrastructure, train medical personnel and to support hospitals. After years of development work, a major setback occurred between 2014 and 2016: the Ebola virus raged in West Africa and killed almost 4,000 people in Sierra Leone alone. Once again, the health system throughout the country was out of action.

Even though the healthcare system stabilised itself slowly after the number of setbacks, Sierra Leone still remains one of the countries with the highest child mortality rate worldwide. That’s why Cap Anamur supports the Ola During Childrens Hospital (ODCH) in Freetown. 180 beds in total stand by for young patients, who are admitted to the hospital in a seriously ill condition. The intensive care unit holds 12 beds for especially ill cases. With Dr. Nellie Bell, the only children doctor Sierra Leones and head physician of ODCH, we have a reliable partner on site.

The work in the hospital is diverse and thus there is not a routine workday for the despatched German specialist. The paediatricians work hard to save as many young lives as possible, and in addition they give further training and teaching units at the patient’s bedside as often as possible for the doctors and students of the country. The nurses are committed to improve the processes on the wards and to establish a European standard in the hospital. In addition, we take over the majority of the drug delivery for the pharmacy in the hospital. Although every hospital in Sierra Leone receives medicines from the state, there are not enough to adequately care for the many sick children.

With the renovation and refurbishment of some of the buildings, this year we were able to facilitate the relocation of the emergency department to provide a brighter, larger and better equipped environment for the local professionals, thus to further improve the work and treatment of patients on site.

“When Ebola broke out, all of the help organisations left, except for Cap Anamur”, Dr. Bell said at the anniversary event of the organisation in Cologne in August. “Cap Anamur has been helping the country for years. We are eternally grateful. So many children could be saved.”