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Sierra Leone News: Connaught Hospital needs staff, beds and funds, according to matron

Connaught Hospital

Connaught Hospital

Connaught Hospital in Freetown is not up to international standards because it lacks specialized staff, equipment, bed capacity and funding, according to Isatu Kamara, the matron in charge of the hospital.
Kamara said the hospital has enough nurses to handle basic care for patients, but it needs more specialists such as surgeons, physicians, dentists, oncologists, and more. “We need specialists in all areas.” Given the recent Ebola crisis, she said, it’s especially important to have more nurses and doctors trained in infectious diseases.
The hospital has only two trained physicians on staff – the rest are retired but work on contract, Kamara said. The hospital needs more young doctors.
As well as serving Freetown, Connaught is the main referral hospital for all of Sierra Leone, including many provinces. Kamara said the hospital needs more funding from international partners to train staff. Staff can get specialized training in Ghana or Nigeria for cheaper than in the UK or the US, she said.
The hospital also has a shortage of X-ray and lab equipment, and beds. Because it was built by British colonists in 1911, Connaught was not designed for Freetown’s enlarged population.
“Looking at the population of Freetown now, the bed capacity is small, the hospital is 300 beds, and we need expansion,” she said.
Like so much in Sierra Leone, Connaught was changed by the Ebola crisis.
“The Ebola epidemic, I think it has changed a lot of things: infection prevention control, more logistics, capacity building for staff, training and development and infrastructure development,” she said. After the epidemic, the hospital now has an oxygen factory, an intensive care unit, a twelve-bed infectious disease unit for the first time.”
However, Kamara believes Connaught still needs help from international donors to bring it up to modern standards. “When you get a healthy nation, then you get a wealthy nation.”
By Chetanya Robinson
Thursday August 04, 2016

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