First impressions v/ Laura Todescato, international fundraiser

Two months in the middle of the jungle has already passed, and every day is a challenge at Masanga hospital.
 
I arrived a sunny Saturday morning, after a quite long trip through the interior of Sierra Leone with its beautiful landscapes, in between beaches and mountains.

I found Kelfala (red. Masanga field coordinator) ready to welcome me with his smiling eyes. He seemed tired but the excited feeling of being back in Sierra Leone and in Masanga, overwhelmed me.

When you look for the first time at a project like Masanga Hospital, it’s impressive to see the quality of health this hospital is able to deliver in such a poor area. Poor in terms of educated human resources, financial means and medical supply but rich in passion and commitment.
First week full of talks, get to know people, and remember their names! Kelfala is my guide, the problems solver. He showed me around and I could understand in his words, that running an hospital is not easy. There is the hospital, with its history of patients, from the leprosy to the hernia without forgetting pregnant women and children. Masanga Hospital wants to reach as many people as a Nation can serve and cover the unmet needs of this Country. Not just because it’s right, but because every human being deserve it.
Back to the ground, Rosie and Mei, british by nationality, emergency doctor the first and clinical doctor the second, are my first friends. I shared the accomodation with them in a basic and tidy hostel which can offer more than twenty rooms. Its potential to host volunteers are very high but it needs some further renovation and our focus now is primarely the Health Care. Fatmata (red. kitchen staff) is taking care of us with her multicultural and savory dishes.
My first dark nights are full of stories of different cases, looking for solutions to treat tuberculoses or diabetis or other common deseases where, in the western world, are easily treated.
Friday morning is the day. The day of the ground round and I am thrilled to go around with international or national doctors to understand better this amazing project.
The Emergency ward is where the last cases are, ready to be discharged or transfer in other wards. Many hernia surgeries or malaria cases but what it is interesting is the way international and national Health Care professionals are collaborating in finding the best solutions for each of them. Testing and pushing national staff to think outside of the box and dealing with limited investigation and treatments are just a few examples of the daily challenges.
After the Ebola Outbreak, the funds available for Health Care are slowly decreasing and it has become fundamental to raise international aids and governmental support to help the development of Masanga Hospital.
Next steps are strenghtening the capacity of the aid workers in the Country, giving them the tools to improve their capabilities and assisting more closely pregnant women who are a shared priority with the Government.
We need to involve the Ministry in our activities and raise our voices for a better response in collaboration with the people of this beautiful Country.

/Laura TODESCATO
International Fundraiser

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