I am sadly coming to the end of my one year volunteer placement at Magbenteh Community Hospital as the Inventories Specialist. My goal was to implement a documentation system for the pharmacy store and the dispensary, working alongside a Sierra Leonean counterpart, to strengthen the capacity building element of SSLDF.
Patrick, my counterpart, who has been working at the hospital since 2008, taught me how to better understand how we could construct and implement a system without using computers. Due to an inconsistent supply of electricity we are unable to depend on electronic spreadsheets or computers. In return, Patrick learnt the value of ensuring we have more consistent record keeping as well as supplying management technics. Capacity building is vital for small NGO’s working in developing nations such as Sierra Leone as it allows for national staff to improve and further their skill sets.
Magbenteh Community Hospital has an average attendance of 17,000 in and out patients per year. Therefore the newly organised medical supply store is an enormous help to the hospital as a whole, greatly complimented by the new record keeping system Patrick and I have established. This now allows us to monitor the consumption of drugs and medicines and thus expenditure.
This was my second stay in Sierra Leone, previously visiting in 2013. It is a country which has taught me a lot about patience, hopefulness and religious and cultural tolerance. One of my fondest memories is the opening of the SSLDF Magbenteh Community Boarding School in October 2016. The community and the children who were going to be attending were so excited about this new opportunity and it felt as though the relationship SSLDF has with the community and with the education system in Sierra Leone, was taking a huge step forward.
I am extremely grateful to SSLDF for giving me this opportunity and for everything that it has taught me. Magbenteh Community Hospital and Sierra Leone will always be my second home.
For more information about volunteering with SSLDF take a look here.