Sunday, June 16, 2013

Give the gift of life: donate blood...

Friday was World Blood Donor Day. My first few years at the Children's Hospital, I was donating a unit of blood every four months. However, for my own health, I'm no longer able to donate. I was a bit sad about that this past Friday but even though I couldn't donate, I was still given a t-shirt by the blood bank guys as an 'honorary donor' :) Even though I can't donate, and even though the Blood Donor Day has passed, I'd encourage you all to donate. If you're in Freetown, and would like to be donate, contact me and we can arrange that. Your blood can save a child's life at the Children's Hospital. I'll buy you a coke after you donate to help replace some of your losses!

Did you know that there are 107 million blood donations per year and that 65% of blood transfusions in low-income countries are given to children under five years of age.

"12 June 2013 -- World Blood Donor Day, celebrated on 14 June every year, serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank voluntary unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood. With the slogan "Give the gift of life: donate blood", this year’s campaign, the 10th anniversary of World Blood Donor Day, will focus on the value of donated blood to the patient, not only in saving life, but also in helping people live longer and more productive lives."

Monday, June 10, 2013

BMJ post about x-ray machines and emergency measures...

Today marks three years of working for Welbodi Partnership and it’s hard to believe that so much time has gone by. The last time I blogged, I wrote about getting more involved clinically. Well, that spell ended rather quickly, and before I knew it I was back to managing various projects.
Managing projects might sound a little boring, but really it’s quite exciting especially when I can be involved with big stuff that will make a huge difference. The fact that the projects I am working on will eventually save the lives of children in Sierra Leone excites me and keeps me going.
I am especially proud of three of the projects I have been working on over the past year: the x-ray project, setting up the side laboratory near the Emergency Room, and the accreditation process through the West African College of Physicians. All of these projects are works in progress, but they will in due time transform the Children’s Hospital.
I’ll write more about each of these projects in separate posts but here are a few thoughts on why I love these projects:
Imagine a digital x-ray machine arriving at a hospital where x-rays haven’t been taken for over 9 years and in a country where digital imaging is still very rare.
Imagine that your child is unconscious and doctors are now able to do a rapid test for malaria in the side laboratory and start your child on antimalarial treatment promptly to save your child’s life.
Imagine three x-ray technicians excited about their employment at a government hospital and being some of the only technicians in the country to work with a digital x-ray machine.
Imagine a medical student graduating from medical school knowing that in-country postgraduate training will soon be a reality at the Children’s Hospital and they won’t need to go abroad for further training.
Imagine if you are the mom of a very sick child and instead of needing to trek across town with your sick baby for an x-ray, you can get an x-ray done on the same compound very close to the ward.
Imagine the excitement when each of these projects comes to completion! I’m thankful to be a part of the Welbodi Partnership team and that we are able to accomplish so much and improve the Children’s Hospital by working alongside hospital staff and our colleagues in the Ministry of Health.
Here’s to the next three years.
Sandra Lako is a doctor from the Netherlands who previously spent four and a half years in Sierra Leone setting up and managing a paediatric outpatient clinic with an organisation called Mercy Ships. After a year at home, she returned to Sierra Leone to volunteer as medical coordinator with the Welbodi Partnership, a UK based charity supporting the only government run children’s hospital in a country where one in five children do not reach the age of five.

Friday, June 07, 2013

3 years with Welbodi Partnership...

Three years ago today I returned to Sierra Leone, after a short break post Aberdeen outpatient clinic work, to work with Welbodi Partnership at the Ola During Children's Hospital. Wow, how time has flown. It sure has been a rollercoaster ride. 

It's amazing to look back and see how much has been accomplished - a backup generator, 24-7 water supply, more oxygen concentrators, a renovated special care baby unit, a medical records department that has been reorganized, on-call rooms for doctors, fun paintings on the walls in the wards, a side laboratory near the Emergency Room, a new treatment chart, new phototherapy units built in-country, specialist clinic room, a soon to be functioning x-ray department, the first ever paediatric symposium in Sierra Leone and so much more. 

All of this was accomplished due to the excellent people working with Welbodi over the past few years and Welbodi's close interactions with both the hospital staff, other partners and the Ministry of Health. I'm proud to be a part of Welbodi and a part of the transformation of the Children's Hospital. Someday it will be a 'center of excellence'. 

Here's to the next x years... 

Here are some posts from when I first joined Welbodi in 2010:
June 8th 2010 - first 24 hours back in Freetown
Post on June 22nd 2010 - first experiences in the ODCH emergency room
July 1st 2010 - return to Freetown

~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~