Progress Amid Heartbreak at the Hastings Ebola Treatment Facility – Sierra Leone
Project HOPE team of medical donation experts in Sierra Leone assessing immediate needs for future shipments of medical supplies to fight Ebola.
Project HOPE’s Dr. Dalibor Tasevski, Osman Kabia and Scott Crawford recently spent a week in Sierra Leone, to ensure there is a reliable logistics platform to receive, distribute and monitor shipments of pharmaceutical and other medical supply donations. This is a report from the Hastings Ebola Treatment Center, which is receiving Project HOPE medical supply donations. The Project HOPE team was careful not to enter the treatment rooms, but was given free access to see the facility and talk to the health care workers. The survival rate in this facility is the highest in the country and much of the credit goes to the medical director, Dr. Idriz, who has inspired his staff and created a real team spirit.
The visit to the Hastings Ebola Treatment Facility, about 15 miles outside of Freetown, was an eye-opening experience that gave the team a better sense of the emergency and how a rapidly built Ebola treatment center looks and operates. We met with the medical personnel (20 in total), toured the facility and were introduced to the workers who contributed to making this place a success story. We visited the pharmacy and talked about their needs and challenges. This center will be one of those who will be receiving Project HOPE donated medicines and medical supplies. With regard to human resources, they said they were in good shape, doing an excellent job and have no personnel infected so far. They managed to save approximately 30 percent of those infected and sent for treatment. The biggest problem is the lack of sanitizers and cleaning solutions. A Project HOPE shipment of sanitizers and cleaning solutions is on the way. Lack of appropriate food for the patients is also a big problem here, soups in particular. The staff are all very young, willing to work and looking forward to our support. Chief Physician, Dr. Idriz, gave us a tour and talked about the conditions; currently they have 123 Ebola-positive patients in treatment. Dr. Idriz and many others from the staff sleep at the center and don’t leave the campus for days. In fact they were eating in their dormitory, the room next to the treatment room, and they offered us a bite. But we declined.
During our stay we met a boy, mid-teens, named Suma, who managed to survive the virus three weeks ago and now is a regular visitor to the center, helping the medical staff by encouraging the infected patients and boosting moral. He offered to work for any NGO and feels he was saved to help the others.
There are many heartbreaking situations here. A woman died during the quarantine and left a 3 week old infant. They now struggle with caring for the baby amid the chaos and hope they can find a solution – a facility or group who will take the child and provide care until they know the status.