Kissy United Methodist Hospital, Freetown, Sierra Leone
The Kissy United Methodist Hospital lies in an impoverished neighborhood on the eastern side of Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa. The country is rebuilding after 10 years of civil war, which left homes and families destroyed, electric and sewage systems shattered, and the economy very weak. For the poor in the neighborhood of Kissy, Freetown, Kissy United Methodist Hospital is the only free hospital in the area. Even those who can afford to go to another hospital go to Kissy Hospital because it is known for quality health care.
Kissy Hospital’s prenatal, nutrition, HIV/AIDS and Malaria units work in communities across Sierra Leone as well as at the hospital. They go to schools, communities and support six rural clinics and 150 villages that are related to Kissy Hospital to improve community education in these areas. This comprehensive and proactive approach makes health more accessible to people who may be isolated in rural towns and villages. Kissy Hospital has 65 in-patient beds and treats the health needs of all who come through these primary areas of care.
- Maternal and Child Health
- Child Nutrition
- HIV/AIDS education, counseling and testing (Friend’s Unit)
- Malaria education, treatment and prevention
- Emergency surgical services
- Eye Hospital
Working with Limited Resources
Resources at Kissy Hospital are limited; there are often not enough beds to offer to pregnant women who trek to the hospital in labor. Necessary medication, mosquito nets, HIV/AIDS testing kits, sutures for surgery and basic food, such as milk for children in the malnutrition program, are in constant demand.
Kissy staff members have worked creatively to continue to provide care in the midst of these hardships. For example, Kissy’s own nutritionist developed an alternative mix of nutrient-rich foods to supplement the diet of malnourished children. This meal called “benny mix” is made from locally-available ingredients to help reduce the hospital and family’s dependence on outside goods to provide good nutrition. All of the ingredients for the benny mix is available in the local market.
Each week that the child is in the program parents receive a week’s supply of benny mix when they bring their child in for a check-up. Parents are taught how to prepare the benny mix and how to provide their children with the nutrition they need.
With the support of volunteers from Operation Classroom and Operation Doctor, UMCOR Health was awarded a grant from USAID’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) program in July, 2009, to build a new maternal and child care center that is expected to be completed by 2011. This new facility will fulfill Kissy Hospital’s goal of providing safe and affordable maternal and child health care to the impoverished and needy, especially in a country where one in every eight women will die in childbirth.
How You Can Help
In such a challenging environment, the need for increased assistance is urgent. If you are interested in meeting specific needs at Kissy United Methodist Hospital, contact UMCOR Health.