The story so far
The Masanga hospital is located in the Tonkolili district, serving a population of 400,000 people with unmet healthcare needs in the middle of Sierra Leone in West Africa. It started out as a Seventh Day Adventist sponsored leprosy hospital in the 60's, developing a good reputation as a district hospital. It is based on an expansive campus on the side of the river Panpan in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
In the civil war (1991 to 2002) it was used as a base by the rebels, the hospital was almost destroyed and had to close in 1997. The people of Masanga village did not give up hope and continued to maintain the hospital grounds.
In 2006 Dr Peter Bo Jorgensen, a Danish surgeon, in partnership with a group of UK based Sierra Leone Adventists, led the negotiation of a new 15 year concession with the Government of Sierra Leone to re-open and run the hospital with the objective of making it fully self-sustainable.
Due to the vast damage to the hospital grounds and buildings caused by the war, the project was named Masanga Hospital Rehabilitation Project. The vision has remained consistent and incredible progress has been made in a relatively short time frame.
The health care district of Tonkollili is in the northern province of Sierra Leone, Magburaka being the district capital. The area covers 7003 sq.km. with between 365.000 and 420.000 inhabitants. The borders are: Port Loko, Bombali, Koinnadugu, Kono, Kenema, Bo and Moyamba.
Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the World. It has lived through a terrible and violent civil war that has left institutions such as the health services in a desperate condition. Official figures from the Government (GOSL) and the Ministry of Health & Sanitation (MOHS) indicate a severe shortage of doctors and a lack of health services in both the primary and secondary sector. Sierra Leone have also suffered heavily in the last years do to Ebola epidemic.
There are roughly 150 registered doctors in the country for a population of 5.8 million. The infant mortality rate is 148 per 1000, and children’s mortality for the under fives is 12.6.%. The life expectancy at birth is 51/49 male/female.
It is evident, therefore, that there is an urgent and pressing need for medical facilities, personnel and equipment to counter these massive health problems.
Masanga's Capabilities Today
Masanga provides an important contribution to the district's healthcare provision. For over two years it has been the only Community Hospital in the district while the hospital in Magburaka has been closed for restoration. In the surrounding villages there are a total of 87 Peripheral Health Units (PHUs) and 8 Health Centre’s, all of whom refer patients to Masanga Hospital.
Since re-opening in 2006 more than 100,000 patients have been treated. In 2012 17,800 patients attended the outpatient department, 3,731 patients were admitted to the wards and 1,191 surgical operations were performed. 526 babies were delivered.
Run primarily by local Community Health Officers (CHOs) treating between 50-100 patients on a daily basis. There is a wound clinic for treatment of lepromatous ulcerations and other tropical ulcers; a laboratory; a pharmacy/dispensary; and a small, but vital, blood bank.
The oldest ward is the Pediatric ward, with capacity for up to 30 children. A natural extension of this ward is the Stabilization Centre for acutely malnourished children. Children are treated for both acute and more chronic diseases and admitted with a caretaker. During admission, teaching programs on nutrition, sanitation and health are provided for caretakers.
There is a waiting house for expectant mothers to prepare for the birth. The Maternity ward provides essential professional assistance as 25% of deliveries in Masanga are complicated and need medical assistance.
The Surgical ward houses all non-critical patients who have undergone or are expected to undergo, surgery. The hospital has an extensive teaching program of basic surgical skills for local doctors and CHOs, so this ward is always quite busy. The physiotherapist works most intensely in this ward to rehabilitate patients after surgery.
The Hospital has two operating theatres (OTs) for sterile use and one for non-sterile procedures. Elective surgery is carried out at least two full days a week and acute surgery based on necessity. The OTs have an autoclave and running water.
The Grace Emergency Admissions Unit
The newest addition to the Hospital is the Grace Emergency Admissions Unit, opened in January 2013, where patients are admitted for primary assessment, diagnosis and treatment and if necessary referred to other departments in the Hospital. As a 24 hour monitored facility, the most critical patients can be given special care.
Ultra sound and x ray is conducted in the Radiological department.
The HIV/Aids program, a government program funded by the Global Fund, is integrated in the Hospital.
The Hospital is staffed by two expatriate doctors from Holland. They are assisted by more than 40 locally trained health care workers with varying levels of qualifications. Many are nursing aids assisting two state registered nurses. Due to the surgical training program, two to three CHOs and local doctors assist with the clinical work. In addition the Hospital is visited by many expatriate health professionals who help wherever necessary.