Since the end of the Civil War in 2002, Sierra Leone has faced fluctuations both economically and politically, affecting Magbenteh Community Hospital and SSLDF in ensuring the continuation of its health and charity relief programmes.
In 2008, the country was considered to be the poorest nation in the world according to the UN World Poverty Index. In a country where the life expectancy is only 50 years of age, as stated by the World Health Organisation (2015), the health sector remains the focal point of SSLDF’s work.
SSLDF operates two hospitals in Sierra Leone; Magbenteh Community Hospital, Makeni and Bai Bureh Hospital, Lungi.
At the end of August 2014 MCH was closed and quarantined for 6 weeks. Once reopened, MCH and other medical institutions around the country struggled to continue services and operations for those suffering from non-Ebola conditions; costs for medical items i.e. IV Fluids and PPE’s were 500% higher during the epidemic.
The primary focus of international NGO’s in the country had changed, it was no longer programme work but fighting Ebola.
During the Ebola epidemic, SSLDF, working with the recommendations from the WHO, CDC and Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation, developed a plan to ensure the continuation of healthcare services in the country.
The Hospital’s Children’s Ward was used as the first Ebola Treatment Centre in the Northern Region, with renovations and improvements requested by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to ensure the hospital was functioning to the correct safety requirements.
A total of 161 confirmed Ebola patients were admitted to the MCH Ebola Treatment Centre. Of these cases, 106 survived and 55 died from the Ebola virus. The high survival rate, of 66%, is attributed to both the swift response of MCH staff combined with the utilisation of proper control measures.
As the front line of response, MCH staff compromised their own personal safety to treat and contain the Ebola epidemic. With deep sadness 10 members of our hospital staff were infected by the Ebola virus, of which 9 died and 1 survived.