I waited with this appeal until there was some more certainty as to how Welbodi Partnership will continue its response to the Ebola outbreak. We have a small team of national staff on the ground and I plan to return to Freetown soon to resume my role with Welbodi at the Children’s hospital.
I will spend the first week doing a needs assessment, discussing with hospital staff and partner organisations to see what the needs are and how Welbodi can help fill some of the gaps. This may include coordination and logistics and making sure that ‘general’ medical care can be provided to children who do not have Ebola, while ensuring staff safety. At the same time we want to work towards a long-term goal of health system strengthening – improving standards at the hospital to improve the quality of health care delivery and so that outbreaks like this can be prevented and contained in the future.
We simply cannot know with certainty what will be needed a few days from now, let alone months down the line, as Sierra Leone works to contain and then recover from this outbreak. What we do know is that the principles by which we have always operated—particularly the principles of partnership, and our recognition that health facility staff are often the best judges of what kinds of support they need—still hold during this emergency and its aftermath.
We are therefore raising an emergency fund to support initiatives proposed and implemented by staff on the ground. We will work with staff to develop and implement these ideas, and will coordinate with the MOHS and with other NGO partners, particularly those with expertise in Ebola prevention and control. We envision that these initiatives might include efforts to train health personnel in infection control, provide protective equipment, improve the waste management system, provide other supplies needed to promote infection prevention on the wards or in areas such as the laboratory and pharmacy and contribute to the general improvement of the hospital. In the long run, there will be a great need for strengthening health systems and rebuilding trust in the health facilities and among communities.
We would be grateful for your support—whether by donating funds or spreading the word. You can donate online here, or contact us to find out how you can help.