Country Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Sierra Leone, Anders Nordstrom, has assured his organization’s continued support to Sierra Leone’s only maternal referral hospital, Princes Christian Memorial Hospital (PCMH) commonly known as Cottage hospital in Freetown in handling Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care (EmONC).

Mr. Nordstrom was speaking over the weekend at a round table discussion with doctors, senior nurses and staff of WHO and Cottage hospital at the hospital’s conference room in the east end of the country.

The meeting was summoned by Dr. Alimamy Philip Koroma, Medical Superintendent at PCMH to discuss on skills-based training on EmONC at the hospital. Briefing the WHO boss and delegation on how it all started and why, current situation of the hospital, challenges and what is the dream about its future, Dr. Koroma said the unacceptable maternal and newborn deaths from preventable causes in Sierra Leone are still on the rise.

He said at PCMH, they are witnessing this painful tragedy so often and that they know that these deaths can be averted. As an institution, he went on, “we have decided to adopt a different approach in building our technical capacities and teamwork to position ourselves in responding to this tragedy.”

He said so far, they have started with EmONC skills based training as a critical entry point and still continuing with EmONC skills strengthening, adding that 45 providers have been trained (doctors, midwives, CHOs and SACHs) during the two trainings they have had with support from WHO.

He said five on site mentors have been identified from the two trainings and are mentoring others; ward in – charges being utilized as internal supervisors to supervise and support those who have been trained; teamwork being encourage and have started multidisciplinary morning meeting and have established a position of Coordinator with an office to coordinate the training programmes. In addition, the doctor said they have mobilizing all the partners toward this one goal at making the on the job- on site training approach work and make a difference and that the partners contributions/activities are coordinated by the Core team (group comprising of different stakeholders CNMO, RFP program, UNFPA, WHO, PCMH).

Dr. A.P. Koroma said progress is slow but that they are determined to make a difference despite numerous challenges with regards changing mind-sets and attitudes of staff which cannot be achieved in a day. He noted the establishment of Resource Centre to run their training sessions, the need for skills lab for practicing skills, inadequate material for skill training (simulation), the lack of internet facility, the lack of motivation for core team leaders, supervisors and coordinators and above all the need for more training of clinical staff as some other challenges.

In future, Dr. Koroma went on, plans are underway to continue building on their efforts and addressing the challenges and also mobilize more partners to support our efforts so that we succeed in achieving the results – contribute significantly to the reduction of maternal and newborn deaths.

He said they have plans to make the PCMH becomes a centre of excellence for quality for maternal and newborn health, which is why they are asking WHO to join them in making these plans a reality. Speaking earlier, WHO’s Anders Nordstrom thanked and congratulated Dr. Koroma for such a wonderful initiative and assured him that he has listened to the cries and challenges of the hospital and that his organization will come on board and help.

By A Special Correspondent, Salone

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