From January 19th to 29th January, 2011 a Joint Mission comprising Global Healing (Dr. Elizabeth Ann Donegan, Luke Ryan Ifland, and Mr. Ronald Richard Newton), Architecture for Humanity (Dr. Kathleen Marie West) and International Rotary Groups (Mr. Lee Christian Sorensen) will visit Sierra Leone on a Project Feasibility Mission as gusts of the First Lady of the Republic.
The Joint Mission Team is united in focus to develop healthcare services at both a high level of tertiary referral care and primary community-based level in the Southern Province of Sierra Leone. For a pilot-start, the Team will conduct a Site visits and Needs Assessment to ascertain the level of medical support needed to leverage in an effort to revive the medical service delivery system in Sierra Leone with particular focus on the Mattru Jong Area.
I. GLOBAL HEALING: The mission team from Global healing comprises of Luke Ryan Ifland-President of Global Healing, Elizabeth Ann Donegan-an anesthesiologist at San Francisco Medical Center and Ronald Richard Newton-a Clinical Scientist from Reno, Nevada.
The primary objective of their visit to Sierra Leone is to conduct a needs assessment survey to ascertain the current status and needs related to blood banking development and training services (such as “ cold chain” etc) and pediatrics/neonates, toddlers and children under 5 years of age care especially with reference to intensive care services.
Global Healing would evaluate lab capacities, medical equipment issues and related training across these fields. The primary focus of Global Healing is to determine the level of assistance they could leverage at the Mattru Hospital with the intent upgrade existing facility, transforming Mattru health care center to a highly effective tertiary care and referral hospital.
Should the implementation of Global Healing’s project outcome in Mattru faces a “killer-risk” factor (implying that the Mattru Hospital cannot immediately be staffed and equipped at a tertiary care level), then medical facilities in Bo and or Freetown could be considered thereby ensuring the establishment of a modern medical facilities somewhere in Sierra Leone. Concurrently plans will be considered to undertake incremental changes required at Mattru Hospital.
Global Healing is also interested in up-scaling blood donation facilities and support education campaigns to increase confidence in the nation's blood supply for recipients. They are committed to work in Sierra Leone for a decade or more, including providing assistance with training and extending health care services to the Sherbro Island.
II. ARCHETECTURE FOR HUMANTY: The construct of this team consist of on Dr. Kathleen Marie West who is a public health professional with expertise in environmentally at-risk families. She is representing Architecture for Humanity in site assessment issues related to the development of a Birth Waiting Home and The First Ladies Initiative related to renovation of the Mattru Hospital, exploration of future regional projects, and facilitating partner development. She is also coordinating the Diaspora community in the US to provide health manpower and training assistance in Sierra Leone.
The primary role of Dr. West during the site visit to Bandakemoh in Mattru is to evaluate the 10-acres of land donated by local leaders through the Office of the First Lady for the construction of a proposed Birth Waiting Home and women Health Resource Center. Architecture for Humanity will implement a prescribed site evaluation designed which includes a soil survey, watershed evaluation, assessment of building materials, roads, contractors, laborers, potable water sources at the site and some general survey.
Once the feasibility study is complete, Architecture for Humanity will partner with NextAid and the RAND African First Ladies Initiative-AFLI to explore and implement innovative and cost-effective Women’s Health Resource Center in Bandakemoh a model that will be replicated in other communities of need. Thanks to AFLI this initiative is pilot testes in Sierra Leone and Namibia.
Architecture for Humanity, charged with the design and construction of the center, will work locally with community members, stakeholders and partners to ensure that the buildings fit into the local context and follow regulations. In addition to using a regional design team, construction will be produced by a local labor. A key component to the design process, community outreach will inspire the design team and create ownership of the center within neighborhoods throughout the Country.
Operating Birth Waiting Homes in Kenema and Kailahun District will be visited. This exercise will provide an opportunity to the team to learn from previous mistakes in establishing Birth Waiting Homes in local communities.
A visit to Njala University will be explored to understudy current healthcare training program with the aim of a) scale-up health manpower development and b) sustainable building efforts in Mattru by integrating solar systems construction and maintenance, green building, grey-water management, and green medical waste disposal. Midwifery and nursing training programs would be encouraged in order to effectively address rural healthcare services.
Lastly, the management of the mental health supports rolled out in primary health care settings will be monitored with special emphasis to infant/child (0-3 years) mental health and maternal depression. Intergeneration post traumatic stress disorder and its effects at societal level will also be considered by Architecture for Humanity.
III. INTERNATIONAL ROTARY COMMUNITY: This component of the Joint Mission is represented by Mr. Lee Christian Sorensen. Mr. Sorensen is a private businessman and an entrepreneur who has facilitated the establishment of multiple healthcare and education companies among which are the “Western Youth” a provider of adolescent mental health services and “Covenant Care” a provider of long-term care, home health and rehab services.
With great interest to lend necessary support to Sierra Leone’s “Free Health Care Initiative” launched by His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, Mr. Sorenson who is representing the Rotary Foundation on this mission is especially interested in developing connections with the International Rotary Community and engage the US and Canadian Rotary Clubs to support local chapter in Sierra Leone. He would explore existing interest and extend an outreach support from International Rotary groups in the US and Canada with the aim of galvanizing their multi-pronged support for Sierra Leone’s health care sector.