In 2000, the World Health Organization ranked Sierra Leone last of 191 countries in terms of its poor health indicators, with 1 out of every 6 children dying before the age of 5 and 1 in every 21 women dying during childbirth. Fluctuations in the country both economically and politically have greatly affected Magbenteh Community Hospital and SSLDF in ensuring the continuation of its health and charity relief programmes.
Inequities in health stem largely from where patients are born, live, their ability to access education, their poverty level, where they work, as well as access to resources.
In 2008, the country was considered to be the poorest nation in the world according to the UN World Poverty Index. In a country where the life expectancy is only 50 years of age, as stated by the World Health Organisation (2015), the health sector remains the focal point of SSLDF’s work.
By 2014 there were fewer than 150 physicians and 1,100 nurses and midwives to care for a population of 5.9 million . This shortage in the health workforce was greatly reiterated during the Ebola epidemic in which the country is estimated to have lost 7% of its medical personnel. The epidemic also highlighted the desperate need for community based healthcare, in order strengthen the national health system.
Due to the location of Magbenteh Community hospital, most patients we treat reside in the surrounding villages, where traditional medicine is initially used due to its accessibility. As a result, by the time we receive patients at Magbenteh Community Hospital, their condition has deteriorated and they are severely sick. Furthermore, many of our patients have secondary symptoms or other complications to their initial diagnosis, the majority of which are not treatable in Sierra Leone. Currently Sierra Leone has 245 doctors, no radiologists, no practising psychiatrists, 2 anaesthesiologists, and 1 ophthalmologist, for a population of 7 million.
SSLDF operates two hospitals in Sierra Leone; Magbenteh Community Hospital, Makeni and Bai Bureh Hospital, Lungi.
Bai Bureh hospital is under a rental agreement to SSLDF, under the supervision of Dr Hassan Sesay, the current Medical Director.