Sierra Leone has the highest maternal mortality ratio in the world. The newborn mortality and stillborn rates are also alarmingly high. In late 2015, Project HOPE’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Thomas Kenyon, traveled to Sierra Leone and met with Ministry of Health and Sanitation officials in Freetown and Bo District. Based on discussions and observations there, newborn health was identified as a top priority for response by Project HOPE. In 2016, Project HOPE recruited a team of four highly qualified volunteers to conduct a rapid assessment of the health system and training on newborn care there.
In 2017 Project HOPE the Sierra Leone Kangaroo Mother Care and TOT (Training of Trainers) program. In this country where hospitals often don’t have reliable electricity, incubators for premature babies or oxygenation equipment, the simple technique of mothers providing consistent skin-to-skin contact with their newborns – Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) -- can save lives. Project HOPE also trains other trainers who then can pass lifesaving knowledge onto health care providers throughout Sierra Leone.
Also in 2017 Project HOPE launched Innovations in Sierra Leone: Community Mobilization to Save Newborn Lives, establishing Community Mother Care Groups to support mothers with newborns and families using the KMC method for their small babies after discharge and helping to implement home care.
Sierra Leone suffered from the world’s largest and deadliest known outbreak of the Ebola virus – a highly contagious disease that kills about 50 percent of those infected and has no known cure. The outbreak began in December 2013 in Guinea and spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and then to other locations throughout the world.
Responding to a request from the government of Sierra Leone, Project HOPE coordinated donations of medicines, medical supplies and other items that can help treat and contain the Ebola outbreak. To date, Project HOPE has sent ten shipments of items such as latex gloves, oral rehydration salts, respirators and water purifiers.
In 2015, Project HOPE coordinated the shipment of four donated "Clinic in a Can," portable medical units that can fit into shipping containers and have their own solar power systems, making them suitable for developing countries.
Project HOPE works with a partner on the ground in Sierra Leone, World Hope International, as the Clinic in a Can units are placed in strategic locations and are open for patients.
Baby Morie, a 5-month-old baby girl in Bo District Hospital, had been crying nonstop for two days. Project HOPE volunteers intervened to save her life.
Among the many deaths, there are also stories of hope. Here’s how one family mourned a loss, celebrated a life saved, and expressed their gratitude in the highest way possible.
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