Report from the Children’s Hospital in Freetown

Lamin was desperate and close to tears when he entered the Ola During Children’s Hospital (ODCH) with his 12 year old daughter Maria. To help his child, who suffered a bad infection, he got into debt with his family and friends. Maria already visited many other institutions, where they tried differed treatments to help her but none of them worked. Since Lamin couldn’t afford the very specific and expensive antibiotics his daughter needed, Maria only received cheap medication every other day. When she was finally hospitalized at the ODCH, she was already so weakened, that our staff was not sure, if she would survive.

The ODCH is the central children’s hospital in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. There are 180 beds ready for the little patients, who usually get admitted in a very bad condition. For very serious cases, the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) provides 12 beds. However, it cannot be compared to the standards of an ICU in Germany. The possibilities of treatment are very limited in Sierra Leone. Next to some oxygen, the staff can only access some technical tools to give infusions and there is only one screen for monitoring patients.

There is no daily routine at the ODCH. The nurses and doctors fight for every single one of the little patient’s lives. Most of the time, the staff has to take care of multiple patients simultaneously, giving them infusions, medication or even resuscitation. There are only two doctors in the whole country that specialized in pediatrics: One of them is 80 years old and partly in pension and the other specialist is currently on maternity leave but still supporting the Ministry of Health.

Our work at the ODCH

In the next few months, we will focus our practical work with our medical staff from Germany on this segment. Currently, there are still some renovations and modernizations being done by our technicians. During this time, the hospital is still keeping their doors open. The other most important task for this project will be the procurement of vital drugs, which are lacking in many hospitals of Sierra Leone. For less than 10.000 Euro a month, countless children can be saved from death or permanent damages.

We continued treating Maria free of charge, and she was actually getting better after 4 days. Her father Lamin and the whole family were filled with joy, and they wanted to shower us with gifts. The work we are doing at the children’s clinic in Freetown is one of our most important projects. Stories like the one about Maria show, how essential our fieldwork is and that we are being needed. Many pediatricians from Germany showed an unprecedented level of commitment and passion while working at the ODCH. We are very grateful for that, and we hope that there are many others to follow.

You want to contribute to our work in Sierra Leone or another one of our projects? We are looking forward to receiving your application.

Every donation helps us to procure valuable medicine. Thank you for your help!