Monday, July 25, 2011

Hat-tip New York Times

Last week, the New York Times highlighted some of the opportunities and challenges involved in the Government of Sierra Leone's efforts to provide free healthcare for children and pregnant women.

The article cites early indications that the initiative is having an impact -- including a "214 percent increase in the number of children under 5 getting care at health facilities... and an 85 percent drop in the malaria fatality rate for children treated in hospitals" -- but also enormous challenges. "The health minister, Zainab Bangura, says her country needs 54 gynecologists but has only 4. Likewise, she says, there are only two pediatricians in a nation of over five million people."

Together with our partners, the Welbodi Partnership is working to address this shortage of pediatricians. Two of the Ola During Children Hospital's medical officers recently passed the primary exams for the West African College of Pediatrics and Director of Clinical Teaching Professor Tamra Abiodun is leading a team of fellows providing hands-on training and professional development for these and other young doctors. Meanwhile, we are working towards accreditation through the West African College so that someday soon, aspiring pediatricians from Sierra Leone can qualify as specialists without leaving the country.

Would you like to help? We are always looking for specialist pediatricians to join us in Freetown to help provide clinical training. Contact Emily(at) for more information.

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