Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thank you to RTC North!

As part of its 20th anniversary celebrations, RTC North has announced plans to raise £50,000 for The Welbodi Partnership. The company will host a special charity dinner and auction at Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham on November 10 and marked the start of its fundraising efforts by donating £7,700 to buy a new generator.

Since 1989, RTC North has helped thousands of companies introduce new products, helping create jobs, wealth and a better quality of life for the people of Northern England. CEO, Gordon Ollivere MBE, has a longstanding interest in technology for developing countries having worked as a volunteer in Sierra Leone and Nigeria during the 1970s.

“I am delighted to announce that this year we are celebrating 20 years of working with industry, education and government in the North East," said Ollivere.

“Rather than just having a party, our staff felt it would be much better to mark the occasion by undertaking some fund-raising for a worthwhile charity."

Ollivere continued, “Through our NHS Innovations project we work a lot with medical technologies and both this company and the region have historical links with Sierra Leone. The country’s only university used to be a college of Durham University, and its former Pro-Vice Chancellor and first RTC North chairman was John Clarke who wrote one of the first books about Sierra Leone."

“Sierra Leone has some of the world’s worst child health statistics and because the work of the Welbodi Partnership is having such a massive and recognisable impact we have decided to adopt it as our favoured charity.”

RTC North's first donation will fund a much-needed back-up generator to ensure constant electricity for the hospital. “A big issue for the hospital is the electricity supply is very unreliable," explains Welbodi Director Dr. Matthew Clark. "Currently, when the power fails the hospital is plunged into darkness and essential equipment like oxygen concentrators are rendered useless. The generator funded by RTC North will be a great help and we look forward to the company’s ongoing support.”

For more information on RTC North’s charity dinner and auction visit or email To donate direct visit the Welbodi Partnership's online donation page.

Introducing an exciting new ODCH partner

We are delighted to announce more support for the Ola During Children's Hospital (ODCH). Cap Anamur, a German NGO which previously supported ODCH during the war, have also agreed to support the children’s hospital for at least one year. Already Cap Anamur are providing a supply of drugs and are busy repainting the wards. They also have two German nurses and a program director based full-time at the hospital, and all three are working hard to improve care. It is a real pleasure to be working with Llona, Denise and Hassan, and we look forward to collaborating with them over the next year.

The number of patients admitted to ODCH has increased dramatically in recent months. The Government of Sierra Leone has closed down numerous unlicensed clinics and the supply of drugs by Cap Anamur have dramatically boosted patient numbers. This sudden and significant increase in hospital admission has put a strain on existing hospital facilities. The hospital had already opened a very basic intensive care unit, which is now overflowing with patients. Over the next few months, the Welbodi Partnership will be working with ODCH to improve the existing intensive care unit and also open an emergency department.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Celebrate the colors of Freetown with JHill Design

Need a gift for those summer weddings? Planning ahead for Christmas?

Artist Jennifer Hill’s beautiful Places I Have Never Been series is inspired by her imaginary vacations around the world. These amazing prints capture the spirit and colors of different countries and cities. Each eye-catching design is accompanied by details about the destination, presenting the impressions of different towns and bringing them home.

The collection now includes a wonderful print of Freetown. Not only will this make a great gift for those who hold Sierra Leone dear, it will also help everyone at the Ola During Children’s Hospital.

JHill Design will donate 25% of the proceeds for this print to the Welbodi Partnership. You can buy your print here online:

We want to thank JHill Design for such a generous and unique contribution. We hope that you all will enjoy the prints as a reminder and celebration of Freetown.

New Welbodi Partnership Team

We are thrilled to introduce the new members of our team.

Ishmael Turay – Ishmael is a Medical Officer at the Ola During Children’s Hospital (ODCH), and has been a core Welbodi partner since 2007. Ishmael has now been appointed as the Welbodi liaison officer. He will be responsible for coordinating all volunteers as well as supervising the use of donated equipment and helping to prepare proposals for the SLICH board.

Emily Spry – Emily is a primary care doctor from the UK with a special interest in training health care workers. She will be volunteering in Sierra Leone for a year and her work at ODCH will concentrate on training.

Fiona Ringholz - Fiona is a paediatrican from the UK who will be based at ODCH for one year. The placement has been organised by Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), but we will be working closely with Fiona to help make her placement as successful as possible.

Sarah Jones - Sarah will be joining Welbodi in October. Sarah previously worked as a fundraiser for The Amy Biehl Foundation, an NGO based in South Africa, and will be working as a full-time fundraising and publicity volunteer for the Welbodi Partnership.

Matthew Clark
– Matthew, a co-director of the Welbodi Partnership, will be based at ODCH from September until November. Matthew will be making sure the new team get settled in and overseeing all our work at ODCH.

We bid farewell to a visionary leader, and welcome a new head of hospital

It is with sadness but with great affection that the Ola During Children’s Hospital and the Welbodi Partnership bid farewell to Dr Muctarr AS Jalloh, who retired in August as head of the hospital. We cannot thank Dr, Jalloh enough for all he’s done for the hospital, nor express how much he will be missed. He has been a core supporter of the Welbodi Partnership and the Sierra Leone Institute for Child Health from the very beginning, and we would never have been able to get off the ground without him.

We won't say goodbye to Dr. Jalloh, because we know he'll stay a friend and supporter. In the meantime, we only hope that our work will be a fitting legacy for Dr. Jalloh’s tremendous commitment to the hospital and the children of Sierra Leone, and we send him all of our best wishes in his new endeavors.

We also want to send a warm welcome Dr. David Baion, the new acting specialist-in-charge, and wish him all the very best in his new position.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ola During Children’s Hospital Goes Online - Thank You to LimeLine, IMATT, and friends!

Thanks to LimeLine, one of Sierra Leone's leading internet service providers, the Ola During Children’s Hospital and neighbouring Princess Christian Maternity Hospital now have network connections and free internet service for the next year. This connectivity will help improve the service the hospitals can provide, through online opportunities for staff training and medical research. We are also exploring possibilities for e-medicine and remote consultation by paediatric specialists outside of Sierra Leone.

This generous donation from LimeLine quite literally connects the hospital to the rest of the world! Thank you!

Huge thanks are also owed to other people who donated time, money, and expertise to get the hospitals online.

Thank you to our friends at the International Military Advisory and Training Team (IMATT) in Freetown, who donated materials as well as their expertise to help install the network. We really appreciate the time and resources they have given us.

Finally, a massive thank you to Meghan and Carol Roecklein, who deserve credit both for spearheading this effort and for their time, energy and support along the way. This would never have happened without you!

Launch of the Sierra Leone Institute of Child Health

Many of you as regular supporters will know we have spent the last 12 months establishing the Sierra Leone Institute of Child Health (SLICH) to improve paediatric care in Sierra Leone.

June marked the official launch of SLICH. Already it has begun to work towards its aims: bringing the right people together, identifying where the need is greatest, and making sure lasting changes happen.

So far we have:

A new proposal process in place

SLICH looks to local people and the staff of the Ola During Children’s Hospital (ODCH) to acquire the best understanding of what the hospital and its young patients need. Staff and other stakeholders are encouraged to submit short proposals for funding and support. The SLICH board – which includes representatives from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, ODCH, and the Welbodi Partnership – then reviews these proposals at quarterly meetings. Funds for approved projects or supplies are released to ODCH, which must then account for those funds at the next SLICH meeting.

We believe that local planning and implementation are fundamental to our aim to improve paediatric care, and we're very excited about the SLICH funding process as a way to empower the ODCH staff and managers to propose and deliver improvements to their hospital.

Acted upon the following proposals

The first SLICH board meeting took place in June. The approved proposals represented a total budget of Le 91,419,000 (approx $23,000). These are now underway and include:

• Provision of library facilities
• Purchase of a standby generator and construction of a generator house
• Plumbing and electrical repairs
• Accommodation for visiting doctors

Call for new proposals

The second SLICH board meeting was held on 2nd October, and the ODCH staff and managers came up with a fresh round of exciting and important proposals to improve the quality of care and training at ODCH.

Stay tuned for details on these proposals and the SLICH board’s funding decisions for the final quarter of 2009.

A Note from Us

Dear friends and supporters,

You may have wondered why you haven't heard from us in some time. Our apologies for the long silence -- we've been in a period of transition and have also been extremely busy here on the ground with lots of exciting initiatives.

Over the next week we'll be posting a number of long-overdo updates to this blog, which we'll then pull together into a newsletter. We hope you'll enjoy these updates and thanks as always for your support!

The Welbodi Partnership