RRHIME Elective Experience in Freetown, Sierra Leone

"Ola During Children's Hospital is a paediatric referral center for all of Sierra Leone. It is a government run hospital situated in the capital, Freetown. The hospital includes 3 wards as well as a neonatal intensive care unit and paediatric A&E. The hospital has a huge amount of NGO input and was nowhere near as resource deplete as I was expecting. It has recently had the wards redone and an x-ray machine was just starting its first trial as we left. Next to the hospital is an obstetric unit that carries out both normal deliveries and caesarean sections." 

River no.2, Sierra Leone

River no.2

Non-Curricular Activities

"Freetown is very busy but has beautiful beaches located around it on the peninsula (Hamilton beach, Franco's and the most impressive River no2). However, all of these require a driver to get to but isn't too expensive with a full car.
You can rent huts along most of the beaches to stay a night or two.  Banana Island is pretty. Takes a boat ride from the coast to get you there but has a few beaches and treks you can go one.

Tiwai island we didn't manage to get to but from recommendations would be a place to visit, though we were advised to have our own car and not use public transport as the roads were too bad. Bo is the second visit city and well worth a visit to experience medicine in Sierra Leone outside of Freetown and it is a shock. Much more chilled out feel compared to Freetown."

Clinical Experience

"The most common disease I encounted while I was out there was malaria. Malaria in the under 5's is classed as being the danger period and those that came were often late presentation coming in with cerebral malaria and convulsing. There were a number of children that also came in shocked or in severe respiratory distress.

On the wards there were many children who had pulmonary TB I also encountered a case of late spinal TB where the child presented with bilateral hypertonia of both legs and severe clonus with the child having been unable to stand for several weeks.

The hospital and a large malnutrition ward (TFC) that had 20 beds. Most patients in this ward were HIV positive.

A large number of the patients that came presented late, most often as their parents had taken to traditional healers first where the child had been fed 'herbs' that no one knew the exact name of and often seemed toxic to some degree. Children would also come in with strange creams or burns marks on their skin form these healers. "

Ola During Children's Hospital
scbu unit

SCBU unit

"I really enjoyed being able to spend more time examining children and developing my skills in handling babies and neonates. As well gaining a greater appreciation of the difficulties in providing medicine in resource poor settings. It also highlighted to me how there has to be a culture change with regards to hospitals and doctors for parents to actually bring their children to seek medical attention in the first place and that this leads to a huge number of late presentations.

"In Bo we were able to deliver some training in neonatal and paediatric resus to community health care professionals in some of the peripheral delivery centers under the guidance of one of the doctors there."