Grant Provides for Expansion at Kissy United Methodist Hospital
NEW YORK, July 2, 2009—Kissy United Methodist Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone, will now be able to double the capacity of the Maternal and Child Health unit through a recent grant awarded to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). The $450,000 grant from USAID’s American Schools and Hospital’s Abroad (ASHA) Program will fund the construction of the new unit. UMCOR and other partner organizations will match the grant with both financial resources and in-kind contributions.
Increased Care for Women and Children
Sierra Leone, where approximately one in eight women will die giving birth in their lifetime, maintains the world’s highest maternal mortality rates. Many programs at Kissy Hospital work to fight against these grim statistics. Prenatal care, traditional birth attendant training, HIV/AIDS testing and counseling, malaria and nutrition programs all work together to integrate the approach and improve the overall health of women and children.
The new facility will increase the maternal bed space from 24 to 48. The pediatric unit will expand from 10 beds to 23. It will also provide space for a larger outpatient area, consulting rooms, administrative offices, and expanded pharmacy, laboratory and radiology department. Kissy Hospital’s Community Outreach Unit will be housed in the new facility, as well. “This signifies a new day for Kissy Hospital and the mothers and children in the surrounding communities,” said Sam Dixon, UMCOR’s top executive.
The inclusion of the Community Outreach Unit in the new facility ensures that women and children in rural areas will benefit as well. Many women and children in outlaying villages are not able to access the hospital or its services. The Community Outreach Unit works with Kissy Hospital’s network of rural clinics to reach women and children in approximately 150 villages. The Hospital also extends its reach beyond the Freetown community by training community health workers. The unit includes the traditional birth attendant network, HIV/AIDS “Friends” unit as well as malaria and nutrition programs.
“The impact of this new unit is immeasurable,” said Dixon. “This will greatly increase the capacity of Kissy Hospital to address some of the community’s most pressing needs, while also increasing the financial stability and long-term sustainability of the hospital.”
UMCOR sought the ASHA grant in collaboration with Operation Classroom and Operation Doctor, ministries of the North Indiana Annual Conference. Together these programs have more than 20 years of experience working in Sierra Leone. They will be sending work teams and providing professional support to the construction project, which is expected to last for three years beginning in early 2010.
Since it was founded in 1974, Kissy Hospital has served as a place of help and service for the people who need it most. The hospital is located in an impoverished neighborhood of Freetown and treats all patients regardless of their ability to pay. Kissy is renown nationwide for its quality of care and community outreach programs.
To support Kissy United Methodist Hospital, give to Hospital Revitalization, Kissy, UMCOR Advance #982168.