Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Want to Join our Team? (Update)

Head of Fundraising and Communications

The Welbodi Partnership is seeking to recruit a head of fundraising team to join their growing team. Welbodi was established to support the provision of paediatric care in Sierra Leone. This is an exciting opportunity to be at the heart of a young and dynamic organisation and to gain valuable experience in fundraising and development. The Head of Fundraising will initially be based for one month in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, to gain an in-depth understanding of our work. After that, she/he will relocate to help establish our London office. The Head of Fundraising will work closely with the Welbodi Directors to design and deliver the organization’s fundraising strategy. The Head of Fundraising will also be supported by a team of 2-4 Fundraising Volunteers.

Job Title: Head of Fundraising and Communications

Salary: The Welbodi Partnership is a small voluntary organization, and as such is not able to offer a salary at this stage. However, the Directors hope that successful fundraising will enable the organization to create a paid fundraising position moving forward. Welbodi will be able to cover some expenses, including travel and living expenses in Freetown, and will provide office space in London.

Location: Freetown, Sierra Leone for one month, then central London

Full-Time / Part-Time: The job must be full-time for the first month in Sierra Leone, but could be part-time thereafter for the right candidate.


• Develop and implement both long-term and short-term fundraising strategies.
• Supervise a team of 2-4 Fundraising Volunteers.
• Network with high net worth individuals, such as private business people, philanthropists, and celebrities.
• Build relationships with institutional donors.
• Supervise applications to charity trusts.
• Supervise publicity and social media strategy and presence.
• Gather information from the team at the hospital on recent developments, accomplishments, and other figures.
• Respond to basic requests for information as needed.
• Manage the Welbodi Partnership office in Central London.

Person Specification:

Welbodi is committed to find the right person to join its dynamic and growing team at a leadership level. The Directors are open to people with different types of background and expertise. A successful candidate must:

• Have excellent written and verbal communication skills.
• Have excellent attention to detail.
• Be self motivated and enthusiastic; able to manage own time and work to deadlines.
• Have an interest in development and the cause that Welbodi represents.
• Have excellent relationship management skills, and be able to communicate with people at all levels of an organisation.
• Have excellent organisational skills.
• Have an ability to condense large amounts of information into concise formats, identifying key information needed.

The candidate may or may not have:
• Experience in marketing, public relations, or communications.
• Experience in fundraising or development.
• Experience in the non-profit sector.

The Welbodi Partnership expects that applicants may include communications professionals with an interest in transitioning to the international development or non-profit field; international development or non-profit professionals with an interest in building their fundraising expertise; and others with skills and enthusiasm who want to help Welbodi build a fundraising and communications strategy from the ground up.

Application Process and Deadlines:

CV and covering email to matthew@welbodipartnership.org .

Submit applications as soon as possible but no later than 22nd January 2011. Applications will be processed as they are received, so the position may be filled before that date.

For more information visit our website: www.welbodipartnership.org

Friday, December 17, 2010

A unique Christmas gift...

Do you want to give something unique this Christmas?

How about giving Oxygen?

Please help raise money for oxygen concentrators for the Children's Hospital in Sierra Leone.

Watch the video and then go to: http://www.justgiving.com/sandralako

MERRY CHRISTMAS on behalf of the Welbodi team.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Sweet Salone" gives free healthcare to sick kids

Sierra Leone is known as “Sweet Salone” for her beautiful beaches, lush tropical climate and rich culture. But this small West African country and her people also suffer serious problems, not least poverty and ill-health, made worse by the decade-long rebel war which ended in 2002.

However, there is a spirit of optimism in the country these days that you cannot ignore. In April 2010, the President celebrated Independence Day by making healthcare free for all children up to 5 years old and all pregnant and breastfeeding women. As well as abolishing hospital and health centre fees, the Government provided drugs and supplies and increased doctors and nurses salaries , so that they no longer need to charge their patients.

In a country where so many live in poverty, even small fees prevent people from taking their sick children to the doctor. All too often, children are brought to the hospital so late in their illness that it is difficult to save them. The first few weeks of the free healthcare policy were pretty crazy at the Children’s Hospital, with enormous crowds queuing outside – including many mothers who had perhaps never brought their children to see a doctor before. Things have calmed down somewhat but overall the hospital is certainly much more busy than it was before the fees were abolished!

It was a great privilege for the Welbodi Partnership to support the Government and the Children’s Hospital through these momentous changes and we are impressed by the way that everyone has risen to the challenge. Our focus has been to continue to improve the Triage and Emergency facilities, so that the sickest kids are identified quickly and treated appropriately. Our partners at Abertawe Bro Morgannwyg Trust in Wales have been sending out a training team twice a year to support this work.

Training Children's Doctors

As you know, one of the biggest challenges for child health care in Sierra Leone is a lack of specialist children’s doctors. There is only one Paediatrician in government service in a country of 6.5 million people, where more than 1 child in 7 dies before their 5th birthday. Meanwhile, there is a new generation of keen young Sierra Leonean doctors who have had no opportunity to formally train to be Paediatricians.

On this front, 2010 has been a very exciting year. Firstly, in January 2010, we brought in Professor Tamra Abiodun, an inspirational children’s doctor from Nigeria. She soon had regular tutorials and clinical teaching in place, and our trainee doctors were finding out that training to be a specialist isn’t easy! Secondly, we are working closely with respected colleagues at the Ministry of Health to help implement both Diploma and Masters programmes in Paediatrics for young doctors.

By October 2010, two of our young doctors were ready to take their first exams under the West African College of Physicians. These exams are rightly feared amongst young doctors in the region, but both of our candidates passed on their first try. Congratulations to Dr Ishmael Turay and Dr Freddie Coker! And good luck to the rest of the group who are taking the same exams in April, under the Lady Vanneck Fellowship.

Training under the West African College of Physicians offers us the opportunity to produce international-standard children’s doctors over the next few years, with Prof Tamra leading the way and other sub-specialists coming in for several months at a time. But there is still much to be done for us to realize this dream.

First, we need to have the hospital officially “accredited” by the West African College of Physicians, which requires further upgrading of various departments and processes. This is our biggest, most exciting challenge for the New Year, with the prospect of several new Paediatricians trained in Sierra Leone by the end of 2012. This project has been generously supported by the Theresa Sackler Foundation and many others, but we do need additional funds to make this dream happen. Please give generously!

Please make a donation on our website! Your support can be a huge help to sick kids in Sierra Leone.

New Developments in 2010.....

Two exciting new developments underway at the Hospital should dramatically increase doctors’ ability to diagnose children’s problems accurately.

The first is a major revamp of the laboratory, which has been led by Angela Allen of Swansea University and funded by THET, the British Council and the Oxted Trust. As well as new equipment and supplies, laboratory staff have gone to Swansea to receive training in use and maintenance of the new equipment, all of which will be followed up and reinforced over the coming year. This will have knock-on benefits for the national Maternity hospital next door, which shares use of the laboratory.

The second big improvement is the arrival of an Xray machine. Before now, patients requiring an Xray had to travel miles across town to the main government hospital, which was unsafe for the sickest or those requiring oxygen. We are now working to ensure that appropriately trained staff, procedures and supplies are in place.

The Hospital has benefited enormously this year from a back-up generator, generously paid for by RTC Ltd. Power cuts are common and essential equipment, such as oxygen machines, rely on continuous electricity.

Life-saving equipment was also provided for the Baby Unit, where all children under 28 days old are admitted – often directly from the Maternity Hospital next door. The Oxted Trust and others paid for oxygen concentrators and a suction machine, whilst volunteers including Dr Chris Bird, Tina Koso-Thomas and Dr Fiona Ringholz carried out training for the staff.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

First Journal Club at the Children's Hospital...

Today was the launch of the journal club at the Ola During Children’s Hospital. Two professors, seven national doctors and three expatriate doctors sat together in an office for the first meeting of its kind.

The journal club was launched as a part of the postgraduate training program in pediatrics that will hopefully kick off in early 2011 (more on this soon). Similar meetings held in the hospital or soon to be held include the morbidity and mortality review, the tutorial topics, lectures, grand rounds and the perinatal meeting. The momentum for an academic atmosphere is exciting.

The journal article chosen for today’s event was published a mere three weeks ago in the Lancet and depicts a trial comparing intravenous artesunate versus the gold standard of intravenous quinine for the treatment of severe malaria in children. This is a very relevant topic in a country where malaria is endemic. Malaria leads to a high number of hospital admissions and contributes greatly to the death rate in children younger than 5 years. To give you an idea, in October 466 out of 981 new admissions were diagnosed with severe malaria (not all laboratory confirmed) and 45% of the total hospital deaths were attributed to severe malaria.

One of the national doctors gave an excellent summary of the article including the methods, results and discussion points. His summary formed the basis for a discussion by the professor on the importance of criticizing such studies – pointing out both the positive and negative aspects of the trial. As this was the first time to evaluate such trials, she further discussed the research process and involvement of various players in research.

We then moved on to the application of the discussion points to clinical practice in the hospital. This to me is one of the most important parts of these meetings. Yes, it is good to discuss trials and outcomes and point out whether or not the trial was performed well but in the end one needs to analyze whether or not clinical practice is evidence based and whether or not it needs to be adapted.

The outcome of this trial is that intravenous artesunate is superior to intravenous quinine in the treatment of severe malaria with artesunate substantially reducing the mortality rate in children. Artesunate is said to be simple, safe and effective.

This sounds good and it seems like the best thing to do would be to switch to using intravenous artesunate in the hospital, however, in a place where artesunate is not affordable and scarcely available this is not a sustainable treatment option. So, we have to look at what we can do, which is make sure our use of quinine to treat severe malaria is optimal. You see, when reading the article I was reminded that the preferred way of administering quinine is intravenous rather than intramuscular and 8 hourly instead of 12 hourly. So I brought this up. This of course led to an interesting discussion and critical look at our treatment choice.

Yes, the doctors know intravenous is better than intramuscular, however, for various reasons (poor monitoring of a child’s blood sugar, poor monitoring of infusion rates, lack of fluids and other resources, lack of nursing staff) they choose to prescribe it intramuscularly arguing that it is safer in most cases and generally as effective. Of course, they give this 12 hourly to decrease the chance of an injection abscess. We discussed the issue and went back and forth, deciding to consult the guidelines. Seeing as the World Health Organization recently published the 2010 Treatment Guidelines for Malaria it seemed like a good place to look. So, based on the information and the high cost of intravenous artesunate (although a good cost analysis should be done of iv quinine versus iv artesunate), the patients will continue to receive quinine, but 8 hourly. When possible they will receive it as an infusion rather than as an intramuscular injection but in reality we will have to see how that works.

All in all I would say that the journal club was a success leading to a critical look at malaria treatment at the Children’s Hospital, which will hopefully lead to better outcomes for children coming in with severe malaria. This was a good start to the journal club.

Sandra Lako is a doctor from the Netherlands who previously spent four and a half years in Sierra Leone setting up and managing a pediatric 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 1 in 5 children do not reach the age of five.

As posted on the BMJ site: http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2010/12/13/sandra-lako-journal-club/

Friday, December 3, 2010

Want to be part of our team?

Head of Fundraising

The Welbodi Partnership is seeking to recruit head of fundraising team to join their growing team. The Welbodi Partnership was established to support the provision of paediatric care in Sierra Leone. This is an exciting opportunity to be at the heart of a young and dynamic organisation and to gain valuable experience in fundraising and development. You will initially be based in Freetown to gain an in depth understanding of our work. After the initial month you will relocate to help establish our London office. As head of fundraising you will work closely with our directors to design and deliver our fundraising strategy. You will also be supported by a team of interns.

Job Title: Head of fundraising

Salary: Voluntary, with expenses.

Location: Freetown for one month, then central London


· Develop long term fundraising strategy.

· Network with high net worth individuals.

· Build relationships with institutional donors.

· Supervise applications to charity trusts.

· Gather information from the team at the hospital on recent developments and relevant figures for donor reports.

· Supervise publicity material and social media strategy.

· Responding to basic requests for information.

· Manage our London office including a team of interns.

Person Specification

  • Good written and verbal communication skills.
  • Analytical with excellent attention to detail.
  • Self motivated and enthusiastic, able to manage own time and work to deadlines.
  • An interest in development and the cause that Welbodi represents.
  • Excellent relationship management skills, able to communicate with people at all levels of an organisation.
  • Excellent organisational skills.
  • Ability to condense large amounts of information into concise format, identifying key information needed.

Application Process

For more information visit our website : www.welbodipartnership.org

CV and covering email to matthew@welbodipartnership.org