In Sierra Leone, I was struck by the desolate feel of the health system compared to two months prior. Isolation wards were abandoned and the only children's hospital, serving 1.5 million people, was closed after a child with Ebola was found on the general pediatric wards. Reopening the hospital meant training the hospital staff on infection prevention and control, including Ebola preparedness and protective gear.
I trained the 450+ staff at the children's hospital in an effort to help reopen the hospital and ensure children weren't dying in the community from treatable diseases like malaria. By the end of my trip, I expanded my training to cover the maternity hospital and our non-profit staff at Wellbody Alliance. We reopened our clinic only to find a positive Ebola patient in the first wave of patients. There's a spike of Ebola cases in Kono and we need staff. I trained about 1,000 healthcare workers, and the trainings not only made them feel safer caring for patients but it also built confidence, restored hope, and helped get desperately needed health care workers back on their feet.
Our infection control work extended into an effort to create a mentorship and supervisory system to sustain change and protect healthcare workers. We worked with the Ministry of Health to pilot this project. We started the program at the maternity hospital in Freetown. We also built a similar system at our clinical care site in Kono. The pilots serve as a model for hospital- and clinic-level infection control management systems.
Even with staff, the system fails without stuff. We have received a number of shipments with protective gear and there's a chartered plane about to drop enough medical supplies for a national distribution. We are responsible for managing a national distribution of supplies in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.
All these efforts to train healthcare workers, build systems, and distribute necessary protective gear demonstrated success at rebuilding a piece of the collapsed healthcare system.
These efforts are only possible due to generous contributions made in this crowdfunding campaign.
Over the last 8 years, we worked in a remote area, Kono, where there has been a spike in Ebola cases. We can see too many glaring holes in the response. To stop this inaction, we have broadened our response to a comprehensive care program for the district. We will support a safe continuum of care from communities to a treatment center. We see the necessity to take action.
We need to continue raising money from our supporters like you. The international and multilateral response has been grossly underfunded compared to the need outlined in the WHO roadmap and prior crises. We have a large financial gap blunting our ability to respond to the crisis.
We hope you will continue to support our efforts as we build models of infection control and respond to the need for a functioning health system.