MSF Report: Lessons from Pain; treating Sierra Leone’s endless health emergency OCT 2006


It is a crime against humanity for our people, mothers and babies to be dying from inequality. Of all the things that i’ve recently on our dearly beloved SL…this report makes me so angry!!!! I knew things were bad but seeing the numbers really infuriates me!!!…and they were worse than I thought. We have to do something about this!!! There is absolutely no excuse for lives to be wasting away like this 🙁

MalariaMSF survey found that between 25% and 39% of all deaths in SL was caused by malaria63% of deaths in children under 5 years oldResearch has shown that between 39.5% and 78.8 % malaria cases were resistant to chloroquineMinistry of Health (MoH) in 2004 agreed to state providing effective Artesunate/Amodiaquine (ACT) instead of chloroquine however 2 years later MoH clinics have still not received their ACT supplies, so patients are still being given chloroquine Child & Maternal HealthOne in six women in SL will die during childbirth One in six babies will die at birthThis is due to poverty, inadequate supply of health facilities and ignoranceMSF suggests the construction of “waiting houses” for expectant and high risk mothers who can come to the houses weeks before their due date. This will reduce maternal and child deaths because waiting houses are close to clinics and hospitals. Expectant mothers will get medical attention they need to save their lives and their new born.Many women suffer from post partum haemorrhage, pre-eclampsia.Women using the “waiting houses are seven times less likely to die during childbirthA “waiting house” of 30 beds could be built on hospital land for $2000 and $2500 yearly to maintain 3 staff to run and guard the clinic General Access to careTransportation and poor road infrastructure are obstacles to accessing carePeople avoid the formal health care system where charges are made97% live on less than a dollar a dayAverage household of 7.4 people lives on $10 a weekGovernment policy on user fees grants exemptions where sick people are unable to pay but no more than 3.5% of patients actually received exemptions Medecins san frontieres report on Health conditions/facilities in Sierra Leone October 2006

My suggestions:
1. Mass education and sensitization on connections of filth and standing water and mosquitoes
2. making drugs ACT available at MoH clinics
3. poor people should not have to choose between eating or going to the hospital so medication and medical fees should be free
4. building more clinics
5. training more health professionals….doctors, nurses, community health workers, mid wives, traditional healers
6. better health facilities and more updated equipment
7. improving on road infrastructure
8. providing Long lasting insecticide treated nets
9. more waiting houses as suggested in the MSF report Canadian redcross’s Sierra Leone bed net campaign donates to all SL children under the age of 5

Please also read Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder….biogrpahy of Paul Farmer’s life and work in Haiti and his fight to provide free and quality health care to people all over the world.

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