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Hospital in rural area
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A beacon of hope for children in Bo

17 December 2019
Written by Gwen Ng (IH 1968-70), Bo Children’s Hospital Foundation.

The Bo Children’s Hospital (BCH) in Sierra Leone is now in its eighth year of operation and has treated more than 26,000 children since opening in June 2012.

The hospital is making a major contribution to the improvement of children’s health in Bo and surrounding districts.

Although it is a long road to the goal of giving children in Sierra Leone the kind of health care children enjoy in developed countries, encouraging progress is already being made. The Save the Children Fund recently reported that, since 2000, there has been a significant drop worldwide in the under-five child death rate, with Sierra Leone recording the biggest improvement. We feel encouraged to think that the work at the Bo Children’s Hospital has contributed to Sierra Leone’s notable improvement in paediatric health outcomes.

Bo Children’s Hospital now has a day surgery operating theatre, enabling minor surgery to be performed on-site and providing facilities for visiting doctors to perform much-needed operations. UK-based Sierra Leonian surgeon Dr David Sellu has recently visited BCH and has already performed minor surgical procedures, showing great interest in more regular involvement. 

The hospital continues to run a vaccination program, a malnutrition clinic and training for nurses. More than 50 children receive vaccinations at the hospital each week. Nurses travel to more remote villages on motor bikes to administer vaccinations. The malnutrition clinic is part of the general education program for parents and carers, and involves nutrition and healthcare education while monitoring the growth and development of the children.

The Faculty of Health Sciences of Njala University in Bo sends their trainee nurses and paramedics to BCH to gain clinical experience. And recently an ETAT+ (Emergency Triage Assessment Treatment plus) team made a familiarisation visit to BCH to conduct a workshop for the nursing staff in managing paediatric emergencies. ETAT+ is the latest WHO approach to assessing a sick and collapsed child at triage, during consultation and on the wards. 

The Bo Children’s Hospital Foundation is a non-profit organisation and is run entirely by volunteers; every dollar donated goes directly to the hospital. The local community in Bo, with the help of overseas donors, runs this hospital to improve the healthcare of their children now and into the future. It is a testament both to a community wanting to build a better future, and to the generosity of humanity across international borders.