Kambia Government Hospital, Sierra Leone linked with Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust UK to improve maternal and neonatal health, and reduce mortality and morbidity rates within 3 years in the Kambia District of Sierra Leone.

Maternal and Neonatal Health in Kambia

Kambia Government Hospital is located in Kambia District, located in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone with a population of 40,000.

Kambia Appeal is a separate charity that has been supporting Kambia Hospital with the Cheltenham Hospital since 1992 and has led to the International Health Link with Gloucester.

“The introduction of the Kambia Appeal Project has contributed greatly in the reduction of maternal mortality,” said Mohamed Kamara, Community Health Officer at the Kambia Government hospital. Mohamed is a staff member who has worked on the health link from inception and is a prime beneficiary of the Link.

Training and equipment

The District Medical Officers regularly move to other regions, due to the lack of local amenities, and finding a replacement poses a huge problem to the Ministry of Health. The Medical Officers were the only medical personnel who carried out caesarean sections, and their absence created a gap in the delivery of medical services to pregnant women.

This challenge is now being addressed; the link partners have provided in-house training for Community Health Officers.  As a result of the training acquired by Mohamed, he can confidently carry out caesarean sections. In fact, Caesarean sections are now needed less frequently due to the link providing ultra sound scanning, which has become a routine procedure and has made it possible to identify complications earlier in pregnancy.

Making a Difference - Transportation

With no form of commercial transportation available in Kambia and no local medical facilities, pregnant women have often been required to commute for miles on foot to the Kambia Government hospital or rely on traditional birth attendants. This has resulted in high maternal mortality. The link has provided basic training for birth attendants. It has also secured community health posts in each of the chiefdoms. Most remarkable, the project has provided motor bike ambulances which have made it possible for pregnant women to be taken to the nearest community health posts. If the condition is very serious, an ambulance can now be sent from Kambia to collect the patient.

“The training for Community Health Officers has been very necessary and applicable within our communities by improving our life-saving skills. The training programme so far has already helped us manage critical conditions, such as post-partum haemorrhage and the resuscitation of new-born babies. These skills are very important … beyond the District Hospital, and will help to bring down maternal mortality.”

Fortune Ibrahim, Community Health Officers, Kambia District

Find out more about The Kambia Appeal.