In the beginning..
Masanga Hospital Rehabilitation Project was founded by Danish surgeon Peter Bo Jørgensen during his efforts to identify a clinic or hospital in Sierra Leone that would be interested in receiving his surplus surgical equipment. His search led him to Masanga Hospital in 2005, which at that time had been closed for eight years as a result of the devastating civil war. Dr. Peter founded the Association Friends of Masanga (Masanga DK) and, in collaboration with the British Charity Organization Sierra Leonean Adventists Abroad (SLAA), secured a 20-year agreement (evaluating cooperation after 10 years) with the Sierra Leonean government about rehabilitating and running the hospital.
The organization has been active since 2006. The vision is create sustainable healthcare and the work is divided into three pillars: Health, education and business. The organization has more than 350 members; Some contribute exclusively financially, others occasionally, where their help is needed and many through active participation either as volunteers in Masanga or as part of the actively working core in Denmark.
Dr. Peter Bo Jørgensen is the founder of the Danish organization supported by a large working board and an even larger group of young active volunteers.
Health - Key results and current focus
Masanga DK, our partners and local employees have re-established the physical framework at Masanga Hospital and have made it functional. Initially, it there was only the out patient department and this was solely staffed by a few local staff. With the help of more than 300 volunteers over the years, the hospital has grown from this to its present size with 100 beds and more specialized departments.
Most of the hospital equipment at Masanga has been donated by Danish hospitals or clinics and has been sorted, packed in containers and sent to Masanga over the last ten years through our partners at Multi Center South. To date, equipment is still collected and shipped, but on a smaller scale. Earlier on in the project, before local craftsmen were employed, much of the restoration work was carried out by Danish volunteers.
At present, Danish healthcare staff still have a strong influence in Masanga. Several volunteers and other health professionals have visited the hospital for shorter or longer periods to support the local health care team, and Danish medical students perform ongoing outreach efforts in upgrading the professional qualifications of surrounding and referring units.
Education - Key achievements and current focus
In 2008, the first team of nurses (nurse aids) finished a nine months of training at Masanga Hospital. Since then, 3 more teams have been trained locally at the hospital. Since the start of the project, Masanga DK has worked to get the necessary permits to run formal nursing education and in 2012, the Tonkolilli District College of Health Sciences was opened with permission to train State Enrolled Community Health Nurses (SECHNs). With the international atmosphere in the hospital there are plenty of guest lecturers and the institution has therefor turned very popular. First team Masanga-trained SECHNs finished their 3-year education in autumn 2015.
We are currently also working on starting a physiotherapy training programme - the first in Sierra Leone. The college holds a great potential both as an educational resource, but also to cement the importance of Masanga Hospital when the foreign engagement is no longer present.
Business - Key achievements and current focus
As part of the sustainability strategy, Masanga DK has been working hard to establish businesses as part of the Masanga Hospital Rehabilitation Project. This has been done primarily to generate funds for the operation of the hospital, but also to create employment and combat poverty through economic growth in the area. Masanga Hospital Sustainability Enterprises (MHSE) has been established as an umbrella organization for these businesses. MHSE strives to collaborate with business partners in Denmark and abroad who are working to develop their Corporate Social Responsibility profile through opportunities such as this with several benefits for both parties.
Currently, MHSE has a tailor-shop that, in addition to producing, for example, uniforms for the hospital staff, is also a local partner with the Danish-based company Bangura (www.bangura.dk) and Payamba, which sells fair-trade products primarily in bicycle-long material in Denmark and in other Europe.
MHSE also has a plant nursery, a piggery and a canteen that primarily serves the hospital.
Volunteers - main achievements and current focus
Masanga DK has sent more than 300 volunteers to Masanga where they have donated their time and energy to the project. Throughout the years, focus areas for voluntary work have been chosen by the board and the volunteer group in Denmark, but we are currently focusing on gradually moving these decisions to the local management group. Since the Ebola Epidemic, Masanga DK has chosen to reduce the number of volunteers significantly. However, volunteers are still present at Masanga Hospital and in its surroundings.