Our in-country team includes local and international experts with a broad range of skills and expertise. Our current team members are below; former KSLP volunteers and staff, including our Ebola volunteers, can be found on our Facebook page.
Francis Kaikumba, Country Director
Coming back to live and work in Sierra Leone has been an absolute dream. Working for King’s with such amazing people is both inspiring and exciting.
Prior to becoming KSLP’s country director, I was living and working in Tanzania as the CEO for the College of Surgeons for East and Central South Africa (COSECSA). My career has always straddled the space between community and service delivery in Health. So coming back to work with Connaught as the hospital is trying to get back on its feet after an immense challenge is the opportunity of a lifetime.
My vision for King’s is to continue to work in meaningful partnership with Connaught, COMAHS and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation working shoulder to shoulder to improve health systems and patient outcomes in Sierra Leone. It’s important to recognize that we can only do this through building capacity of individuals and strengthening the institutions that matter to them.
I started volunteering with KSLP in 2013 and since then I have been working across all faculties of the College of Medicine & Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS), which provides training for medical, nursing and pharmacy students. As the Education Manager, my role is to provide support for curriculum development, faculty development and improvements in teaching facilities. I also input into our ongoing work to strengthen the pharmacy department at Connaught Hospital.
I was previously working with the University of Manchester and Central Manchester University Hospitals to provide training for pharmacists, nurses and doctors at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Since gaining my pharmacy degree, I have completed postgraduate qualifications in clinical pharmacy and clinical education. I have previously worked at Ola During Children’s Hospital in Freetown with the Welbodi Partnership.
The enthusiasm of the students I work with and the opportunities I have to collaborate with my Sierra Leonean colleagues are what motivates me to stay and keep going!
Working as KSLP Research Manager, I am responsible for engaging with local partners to build and sustain research capacity in Sierra Leone’s health system. I also promote the importance of research as a main pillar of KSLP’s approach to sustainable co-development.
Prior to working with KSLP I gained research experience through completing a masters in public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, after which I worked in both clinical and academic research in the UK National Health Service and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Since joining KSLP I am constantly humbled by local hospital staff and volunteers who are very passionate about their work. It makes me feel both privileged and honoured to be part of KSLP.
Martha Thorpe, Operations Director
I joined KSLP in September 2016 as Operations Director charged with the responsibility of overseeing the day to day operations of the program including but not limited to management of in-country finances including cash flow, budgets and logistics.
Before joining KSLP, I worked as the Director of Human Resources at Partners in Health Sierra Leone, Finance and Administration Manager at Heifer International Sierra Leone and also Human Resources Manager at Plan International. I have gained extensive knowledge and a wealth of experience working in International Non-Governmental Organizations and successfully managed the operational departments of these organizations in the areas of Human Resources Management and Administration, Project Management, Finance and Budgeting.
I hold a Master’s degree in Business Administration (Project Management) from the University of Wales in the United Kingdom and a Professional Diploma in Management from the Open University in the United Kingdom.
Specifically, my immediate goal is to roll out an efficient and effective cash payment system as well as address the anomalies in the non-payment of tax liabilities. I am fired up and extremely excited about joining the KSLP team to contribute to the building of the health care system in Sierra Leone.
Daniel Youkee, Clinical Manager
I am an Emergency Medicine doctor with a strong interest in Infectious Diseases and Public Health. I volunteered with KSLP as the Ebola Holding Units Coordinator from 2014-2015 and I am excited to return as the Clinical Manager for the partnership.
It’s great to see the progress made on the ground from the last time I volunteered with King’s. From the refurbishment of the A&E Department and oxygen factory, to the attitude of the junior doctors, to the engagement of our senior colleagues, it’s wonderful to see such improvements.
Marta Lado, Infectious Diseases Coordinator
Before joining the KSLP team in March 2014 as Volunteer Clinical Lead, I worked for ten years as a clinician in Internal Medicine and Infectious diseases in different environments: Oncology, Internal Medicine, A&E and Infectious diseases Departments in the Spanish Public Health Care System.
I have been involved in several medical projects with different NGOs in rural India, Cameroon and Tanzania focused mainly on the sustainable establishment of health ssytems. I have also worked extensively in in Infectious diseases and obtained my Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in East Africa (Tanzania and Uganda) in 2012 through the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Ebola caught us in the middle of a health system strengthening project we were working on at Connaught hospital. Without hesitation I decided to stay on to work with the local health care workers during those hard months. The outbreak times were very tough but they have created an amazing environment of work and true bonds with the Sierra Leonean colleagues that has given meaning to the real partnership between KSLP and Connaught.
Despite all the bad moments and sad experiences during the Ebola outbreak, I would not change any decisions I made. The intensity of the human relationships between the KSLP team and the rest of the hospital became stronger and much more solid because of it.
Before joining KSLP, I worked for more than fifteen years as a mental health nurse in The Netherlands. Since completing my Masters in Advanced Nursing Practice in Mental Health in 2010, I have focused on community mental health. Increasing access to health services and ensuring that patients and families get the best possible care, as close to home as possible, has been my biggest aim during my professional career as a Nurse Practitioner in Mental Health.
My long-held desire to work in international development lead me to Kings Sierra Leone Partnership. Currently, only an estimated 2% of people with mental disorders have access to care, resulting in a treatment gap of 98%. With only one retired psychiatrist in the country and twenty recently trained mental health nurses, for a population of over six million people, there is a lot that needs to be done.
As a mental health supervisor, I work closely with the twenty mental health nurses deployed throughout the country. By sharing knowledge and skills and building self-confidence, we aim to improve the quality of service delivery. We also support their efforts to raise awareness and reduce stigma about mental health, which ultimately increases access to care. Learning from the nurses’ culture, creativity and determination enables me to improve my own nursing skills.
I’m confident Sierra Leone is on the right track improving the quality and accessibility of mental health care services and I am thankful for Kings and all our local partners for working collaboratively on these goals, because like the Ministry of Health & Sanitation in Sierra Leone says; “There is no health without mental health”.
Ibby Kabia, Logistics and Communications Assistant
My work with KSLP began in September 2014 when I received a call from a volunteer asking me to help buy scrubs for the Ebola Isolation Unit. I was very excited to work with KSLP because I had always admired their work. Ever since that call, I have helped coordinate team logistics.
Before I started working with KSLP I was an administrative assistant, security guard, house manager, cameraman, and all-around fixer for the Freetown Fashpack Running Club. When the Ebola outbreak began, I volunteered for the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society doing Community Sensitization. I completed my Senior Secondary School Studies in Freetown and my aim now is to study at University level.
KSLP is amazing organisation to work with. I have gained a lot of experience working with the international staff; they always make room for anyone ready to learn, work, and collaborate! KSLP’s dedication to partnership working is a great approach to supporting health systems, and I look forward to continuing to improve my skills by working with them. I’m proud to also have added Communications Assistant to my duties; the team knows to call on me to take the best photos of our work!
Natalie Mounter, Nurse Coordinator
I have been with KSLP since October 2014, firstly working as an Ebola response volunteer in Connaught’s Ebola Holding Unit. I then spent a year working as an IPC Nurse Mentor, supporting Connaught’s IPC Focal Person to establish an infection control system within the facility. Now as the Nurse Coordinator I will be managing the ongoing IPC project and also helping to improve nursing standards here at Connaught by working with the hospital management and other KSLP staff.
Before joining KSLP, I had been working as a senior nurse on an Isolation Ward in the UK and have a longstanding background in IPC. After witnessing the epidemic first hand, it’s been extremely satisfying to continue working at Connaught and to see so many improvements happening, both in IPC and throughout the hospital.
My favourite part of working for KSLP has always been its strong commitment to partnership in its true sense, which enables us to have close working relationships with the local staff here and means I am surrounded by a team of extremely committed and motivated professionals with strong values.
Umaru Senessie, Office Manager
I was born in Sierra Leone’s Kono District. I had a very different childhood to my colleagues because I started working in the diamond mines during primary school. Then I started volunteering at health clinics and I became a child health advocate. After this experience, I was lucky enough to get my first job with IRC first as a National Mortality Survey Manager in October to November 2009 and then as the Mobile Vital Events Manager in 2010 to 2012.
I Joined KSLP in November 2014. During the Ebola outbreak, I felt that I had a part to play for my country especially in such crisis. What motivates me most at King’s is working with people of such great humanity.
Now I work with King’s to keep the office running smoothly, managing everything from transport to day-to-day finances and coordinating the operations team. I am hoping to learn more about King’s so that I can do more to help my country in the near future.
Charmi Lathia, Physiotherapy Coordinator
I graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2012 and prior to joining KSLP, I worked at the Royal Brompton Hospital as a senior cardiorespiratory physiotherapist.
My role at KSLP involves working at Connaught Hospital and the Sierra Leone National Clubfoot Program. I have spent the first few weeks familiarising myself with the environment and identifying areas for positive change within the physiotherapy world in Sierra Leone. My next steps will be to identify how to implement lasting change.
Being in Sierra Leone post Ebola is exciting to say the least. Currently, there are only two qualified physiotherapists in country with no undergraduate training program for physiotherapy. I have the privilege to work towards the development of physiotherapy as a whole.
I joined King’s Sierra Leone Partnership as an Infectious Diseases Doctor in March 2016. Working alongside partners in Connaught Hospital gave me a great opportunity to start understanding some of the health challenges faced in Sierra Leone and to learn more about the partnership and how it works.
I have always been interested in infectious diseases and global health from both a clinical and an academic perspective. As well as completing core medical training in London, I have worked in Mexico on prisoner health and HIV (from a clinical and public health standpoint) and completed a Masters in Clinical Research at the Institute of Global Health and the University of Barcelona.
I’ve recently moved into the role of Clinical Infectious Diseases Researcher to work on building research capacity in infectious diseases. I’m looking forward to this opportunity to pursue my interests, work with a great team at KSLP and build strong links with our partners at Connaught Hospital and across Sierra Leone.
Helen Thomson, Mental Health Doctor
I joined KSLP in August 2016 after finishing my Core Psychiatry Training in East London. I had heard amazing things about the program from a previous mental health volunteer. It appealed as the project seemed so varied, addressing service development, research, teaching, supervision and policy development and had achieved a lot, particularly in terms of supporting the implementation of nurse-led clinics in each district.
I have experience of healthcare in low- and middle-income countries from before I graduated, and global mental health work has been a long-term goal for me. Having just started, I am excited about the many new challenges, and I hope to return to the UK a broader-minded and more flexible and resourceful doctor!
I am working with the research team to develop data monitoring and evaluation tools and to implement the new electronic patient record system for the infectious diseases units at both Connaught hospital and 34 Military hospital. I also provide IT support to the KSLP team.
Prior to joining KSLP, I was working as an Assistant Lecturer. I have also worked with the data management team at FHI360 on the STRIVE project. I was part of the data team in the Ebovac Salone trials conducted by COMAHS & London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
I graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Information Systems in 2011 and I’m presently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health specializing in Health Informatics. I have considerable experience working with data management teams in clinical settings and providing IT support to staff.
I feel excited to be part of KSLP team because it has been key in developing the health sector in the country through their partnership. I am also happy being part of the team introducing the Electronic Patient Records system which eases record retrieval and retention at the point of care.
Hannah McReynolds, IPC Nurse Mentor
I first came to Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak in December 2014 and spent almost one year working as a lead nurse at an Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC). I have a background in Accident and Emergency and graduated from DeMontfort University, Leicester in 2011 with the goal of working in developing countries.
Sierra Leone lost almost 7% of its healthcare workforce during the Ebola outbreak and after witnessing first-hand the devastating effect Ebola had on individuals, healthcare workers and health systems, I felt compelled to return and to play a part in strengthening the healthcare systems and building the capacity of health workers.
I now work as an Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Nurse Mentor at King Harman Road and Lumley hospital. My role involves supporting and empowering the IPC focal persons and assistants to implement and strengthen infection control systems within the hospitals. Working for the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership allows me to be part of a community committed to capacity building and sustainability and I feel privileged to be a part of it.
I am a community health and clinical studies graduate from Njala University Sierra Leone and am currently the referral coordinator for the comprehensive programme for Ebola survivors (CPES), which is committed to ensuring that all survivors have access to free health care services.
My main role is to coordinate the proposed clinical services, monitor and access to free health care, and to oversee the referral processes, both from peripheral health units to district and from district hospitals to Connaught hospital.
Before joining this distinguished team, I previously worked with Save the Children International Sierra Leone at the Kerry town Ebola treatment centre from November 2104 – September 2016 in various capacities and the Aberdeen women’s centre (AWC) as resident community health officer.
I have a strong interest in Infectious Diseases, Epidemiology and quality research work, and I am keen to pursue a career in Medicine God willing. I therefore relish the opportunity to be part of an enthusiastic team that is focused on building health systems through partnerships, innovative exchange, and career development for positive and tangible difference in Sierra Leone.
Imogen Jones, Infectious Diseases Doctor
I am very excited to be joining the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership as an Infectious Diseases Doctor. Due to service commitments in the NHS I was unable to travel to Sierra Leone as part of the UK Government response to Ebola, but am extremely grateful that this opportunity has arisen to work with local partners to help strengthen the health care system as it recovers.
I am midway through training in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology in London, and have past experience working in Malawi and Tanzania. I also completed the Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in 2012.
My role while I am here includes supporting the Internal Medicine department at Connaught, including the inpatient isolation unit, and helping with the design and implementation of the Infectious Disease Centre of Excellence.
I have already met many enthusiastic staff in my first week, and look forward to working with them over the coming year, and building on the progress already made.
Linda Jenkins, Nurse Educator
I am a UK trained nurse, midwife and health visitor and most recently I worked in an NHS community health trust in the south of England as Named Nurse in safeguarding children. After working as a qualified nurse for many years in the UK I worked as a midwife both in the UK and in a rural development community health project in Burkina Faso for 3 years. I also worked in The Gambia as a nurse tutor in The Gambian Health Service, employed by the Tropical Child Health Institute, Netherlands for 2 years.
My role as KSLP Nurse Educator in Sierra Leone will hopefully allow me to use some of my experience in overseas work and more recently in education in supporting development of the nurse education and training at COMAHS and Connaught Hospital.
I have been impressed by the spirit of positivity in Sierra Leone following the devastation of Ebola. The KSLP team are upbeat and the obvious high regard in which Kings staff are held by our Sierra Leonean colleagues is humbling. I’m looking forward to getting out and about meeting more staff at COMAHS and working with Dr Vandy and all the staff at the Faculty of Nursing team and Connaught Hospital. I am keen to see how I can support the faculty to build on the successful work in medical education that is underway.
Lisa Cleveley, A&E Nurse
I joined KSLP in August 2016 as the Emergency Nurse. Prior to arrival in Freetown, I worked as a Registered Nurse in Canada, with experience in multiple Emergency Departments, as well as NICU, and Obstetrics (Labour and Delivery). I graduated with Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Grant Macewan University in 2012, and later undertook my Diploma in Tropical Nursing from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in 2014.
I have the privilege of working exclusively with the Accident and Emergency (A&E) staff at Connaught Hospital, trying to build capacity through providing Emergency Nursing education. I have been motivated to work in a development setting since completing my DTN, and KSLP’s values of capacity building, sustainability, and partnership work aligned with my own professional values, so I am ecstatic to be a part of the team.
Through first impressions I am in constant awe of the resiliency, strength and warmth of the Sierra Leonean people. The culture is undoubtedly as vibrant as the Lappa that lines the streets. I look forward to better understanding development work and its challenges, to supporting the education of the A&E Department, to learning the Krio language, and to perfecting my Beanse and Rice recipe.
I am delighted to be working with Sierra Leone partners on various projects to build management and leadership capacity and systems for improving patient outcomes. My main areas of focus are improving the medical records system; supporting the evaluation of a major educational grant project; developing KSLP’s communications material and working with the recently established Quality Improvement committee to embed QI in Connaught.
My first degree is in Modern Languages from the Cambridge University, followed by an editorial role in Berlin, after which I completed an MSc in Health and Public Leadership as part of the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme. I have 7 years management experience in the NHS, including senior operational roles in paediatric & ophthalmic services as well as experience in commissioning and in the Global Health team at the Department of Health. My most recent NHS role is Programme Director for Diabetes & Stroke Prevention at Health Innovation Network South London, leading two collaborative improvement programmes.
I have huge admiration for the strength of the relationships that have formed between Sierra Leone and King’s for bringing tangible improvements for the people who need them most. I relish the chance to work with clinicians, managers and citizens to improve health and it’s fantastic to have the chance to work in this facilitating role in Freetown.
Gary Semple, Volunteer Construction Project Manager
I am delighted to be working with KSLP to primarily help establish a Centre for Excellence in Infectious Diseases. This will deliver high quality care and prevention services through training, clinical services, research, and advocacy. I will also manage various refurbishment projects for Connaught Hospital and the College of Medicine & Allied Health Sciences.
I am a Project Manager who is trained to use Computer Aided Design (CAD) and engineering software. With over a decade of experience working on various projects in design, refurbishment and construction within the National Health Service (NHS) in London. I am hoping to contribute using the experience I have gained working for the NHS to make improvements to the building estate and learn more about the health system and is needs in Sierra Leone.
I have received a warm welcome from the KSLP team and our Sierra Leonean colleagues. I am impressed and humbled by the enthusiasm, dedication and good humour of all I have met.
Unless otherwise specified, these images were taken by Ibby Kabia and Philippa Tetlow. Photo © KSLP 2016.