Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the World. It has lived through a terrible and violent civil war that has left institutions like the health services in a terrible condition. Official figures from the Government (GOSL) and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) indicate a severe shortage of doctors and the lack of health services in both the primary and secondary sector.
With a population of some 5.5 million and with just 120 registered doctors in the country, an infant mortality in the world at 148 per 1000 the highest in the world, and a children’s mortality for the under 5s of 25 %, Sierra Leone has a pressing a need for both medical personnel as well as medical equipment to counter these massive health problems.
Masanga Leprosy Hospital is situation in the Tonkolili District, an area with a population of 320.000 people. The hospital was built in the mid 1960, and was managed was by the Seventh Day Adventists (SDA) under an agreement between the government, SDA and the local chief. It was severely damaged during the war and was closed as a result.
SLAA was founded in 1992 by a group of Adventists University students in the UK from Sierra Leonean. It initial purpose was to provide humanitarian aid to people affected by the war in Sierra Leone. The Association “Friends of Masanga” was established in Denmark by people interested in helping to re-establish the hospital and helping in its operation for a period until the local population, the government and Ministry of Health are to undertake its operation.
SLAA and “Friends of Masanga” propose to cooperate with GOSL/MOHS to ensure that the re-establishment of the Masanga Hospital and the medical tasks being undertaken here is in coordination with the national health strategy. We are concerned here with things like immunisation programs, malaria prophylactics and treatment, HIV/AIDS education, prevention and treatment etc.
SLAA and “Friends of Masanga” will endeavour to procure the financial resources through private donations, and collect medical equipment that can be used in the Masanga Hospital.
The intention is to re-build the hospital over a period of 10 years. In the first phase of this initiative a clinic will be established, primarily to operate on a minor out-patient basis. This will be developed apace with the stabilisation of the running of the clinic and the restoration of the remaining buildings to a minor hospital with the possibility of overnight patient care, and from this to the final stage, a fully functional hospital with a medical ward, a surgical ward, an OB-GYN ward and a paediatric ward.
Specialist medical services previously available at Masanga hospital such as the treatment and rehabilitation of leprosy-patients will be integrated as a part of the MOHS health strategy and the national programmes on lepra/TB and on HIV/AIDS will be fully incorporated in the work of the clinic.
It is part of the vision to create conditions for education and training of nurses and midwives, and a hope that within this of this agreement a school will be established with a full programmed of education in these fields.