Small Hospital In Sierra Leone Tackling Big Health Care Challenges
Mercy Hospital is addressing the three main health challenges in the developing world: lack of access, inability to pay for treatment and a shortage of doctors. In Sierra Leone, 1 in 21 women will not survive child birth, one of the highest rates in the world. Mercy Hospital and the Sierra Leonean United Methodist Church (UMC) health network are looking for opportunities to improve impact and efficiency to reduce maternal and child mortality. It’s not about just bringing more equipment, better microscopes and more doctors to Bo, it’s about empowering health care providers to be more efficient and effective in their work. Ultimately, it´s about saving lives.
Herndon, VA (PRWEB) March 14, 2012
Mercy Hospital in Bo, Sierra Leone is addressing three main health challenges that exist globally, even in the US, can’t get to a doctor, can’t afford to get treated, and not enough doctors. People in developing countries receive significantly less primary health care than in developed countries. According to the 2010 WHO Health Statistics the percentage of births attended by skilled health personnel is 92% in the Americas and only 47% in Africa. Mother’s visited at least once during pregnancy in the Americas is 94% and in Africa 73%. Africa lags behind in its ability to deliver even the basics.
There is a significant shortage of specialized health resources and infrastructure in Africa that will take years to address. There are 23 physicians for every 10,000 people in the Americas, compared to 2 physicians for every 10,000 people in Africa, according to WHO Health Statistics for 2010. In Sierra Leone there are an estimated 200 doctors for a population of 5.7 million. One of the UN Millennium Development Goal is to reduce the maternal mortality rate three quarters by 2015. Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, a woman’s maternal mortality risk is 1 in 30, compared to 1 in 5,600 in developed regions. Every year more than 1 million children are left motherless in the world. In Sierra Leone 1 in 21 women will not survive child birth, one of the highest rates in the world.
Mercy Hospital and the Sierra Leonean United Methodist Church (UMC) health network are looking for opportunities to improve impact and efficiency to reduce maternal and child mortality. It’s not about just bringing more equipment, better microscopes and more doctors to Bo, it’s about empowering those whom we have to be more efficient and effective in their work.
The vision of Mercy Hospital is to achieve a measurable decrease in the infant and maternal mortality rate in Sierra Leone by providing holistic, community-focused care regardless of ability to pay. To accomplish this, Mercy Hospital will be transformed into a world-class center of medical excellence supported by intensive community outreach, health worker training and research in maternal and child health.
Mercy will be transformed in several stages, with the first stage focusing on Community Based Primary Health Care (CBPHC). Involving community partners enables a greater impact on the infant and maternal mortality rates. Mercy Hospital is currently providing community educational programs for HIV/AIDS, malaria, prenatal care, and nutrition, taking the services of Mercy out into the villages to thousands of people every year. In the first phase, Community Health Volunteers from outlying villages will be trained. Community Health Volunteers are respected, local villagers that can provide care and referrals within their village to those unable to go to Mercy Hospital, acting as a liaison between Mercy and the village. Community Health Volunteer training involves education around nutrition, dietary supplements, breastfeeding, hand washing, the importance of using clean water, how malaria is contracted, how bed nets are used, how HIV is spread from person to person, and many other basic health topics. The Community Health Volunteer is the first line of defense in the fight against infant and maternal mortality.
Mercy Hospital is currently a 26 bed primary care hospital in Bo, the second largest city in Sierra Leone which provides vital, life saving care to over 10,000 patients each year. Mercy Hospital has decreased the prevalence of malaria in the community and is currently working to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV and AIDS. The hospital is expanding its services to achieve a measurable decrease in the infant and maternal mortality rates in Sierra Leone by providing holistic, community focused care, regardless of ability to pay.
Mercy Hospital, which opened in 2007, is a program of Helping Children Worldwide. For additional information about Mercy Hospital visit http://www.helpingchildrenworldwide.org or contact Mary Beth Sams, African Programs Director at marybethsams(at)helpingchildrenworldwide(dot)org or 703-956-6722.
For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2012/3/prweb9216366.htm