Asked by the Ministry of Health, World Hope has been serving as primary partner supporting a COVID-19 response in Bombali District, Sierra Leone, supporting a population of 700,000.
@WorldHopeOrg staff in Sierra Leone are serving as the foot-soldiers in the country’s COVID-19 response.
BOMBALI DISTRICT, SIERRA LEONE (MAY 13, 2020) — World Hope International is actively implementing prevention and mitigation work to stem the tide of COVID-19 around the world. World Hope has a long history of responding both to global emergencies and infectious disease outbreaks, including the Ebola Virus mortality surveillance during and after the outbreak in Sierra Leone from 2014-16, and HIV/AIDS prevention in Southern Africa and in Haiti, two of the hardest hit areas of the world. As a result, World Hope had many systems in place and have been able to activate a quick and intentional response to the corona virus, tailored to the specific needs of each community we serve.
World Hope has been working in Sierra Leone since 1997, serving as the key partner supporting the Ministry of Health for the Bombali District. In particular, World Hope has been implementing the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) in Sierra Leone since 2017. This is a multi-country, long-term surveillance program targeted at understanding the cause of death in children under five, funded by the Gates Foundation. As a result of our long history and health expertise in Sierra Leone, the CHAMPS team has been asked by the Ministry of Health to serve as the primary partner supporting a COVID-19 response in the Bombali District supporting a population of 700,000.
“It has been both encouraging and stressful to see the global current events unfolding over the past 2 months as a result of COVID-19. However, health officials in Sierra Leone watched as the Corona Virus spread across the world and moved quickly to implement strict measures early on to prevent COVID-19 from entering the country. As a result of our leadership role with Ebola and hard work over the last 6 years, today we have a workforce ready to perform in public health areas where there was virtually nothing during the early stages of Ebola.”
Carrie Jo Cain, RN
Health Programs Specialist, World Hope International Sierra Leone
“Psychologically – our country is emotionally raw with the memory of Ebola not far behind us – curfew, shortages, treatment centers, ambulances with “angels in white” masks everywhere, veronica buckets – take us all back to the days of 80 percent of those infected dying and the message is hard to change. Fear is rampant and human nature response is not often favorable when fear reigns. It is a blessing to work with a donor like the Gates Foundation, willing to set aside much of the current CHAMPS project and utilize resources to address this newly emerged disease and for that we are so proud to serve and be an effective part of the response.”
Country Director, World Hope International Sierra Leone
World Hope is providing surveillance strength by employing our trained staff to investigate all cases of potential COVID-19, monitor all facilities, place positive case families and contacts in quarantine, monitor those in quarantine, facilitate testing, provide technical health support at isolation centers, and help to provide technical support in establishing the treatment centers in Bombali. We are also supporting the Contact Tracing (which monitors all the people in Quarantine) and bringing technical support to the Case management wing which is the treatment centers.
The World Hope International staff in Sierra Leone are serving as the foot-soldiers in this response but there are many other critical items that our staff have identified that are necessary for us to serve these vulnerable and over-burdened communities. Highlights include:
- Procure drugs and other supplies for Kamakwie and Makeni Regional Hospitals, isolation units, and treatment centers where drugs and medical supplies are grossly inadequate. Although we hope to secure shipments of gift-in-kind drugs in the months ahead, funds are needed immediately to provide for emergency care for patients. ($25,000 over 5 months or $5,000 per month)
- As government policies restrict people’s movements through community quarantines, markets became disrupted, leading to less available food, less diversity of options, and higher prices, especially on more scarce foods. Funds for supplies and food distributions, including meals for staff and patients who spend hours in ambulances and isolation centers with little sustenance, can make all the difference. World Hope will prioritize vulnerable households such as those with orphans, widows, and single parent families. ($20,000 over 5 months or $4,000 per month)
COVID-19 will have a devastating impact on the under-served and over-burdened communities in Sierra Leone that are lacking resources or recourse if we do not continue and redouble our efforts to empower and support them.