Our latest photo essay captures some of our favourite moments from the recent #ResilienceInAction campaign, which highlights the progress our partners have achieved since the end of the Ebola outbreak.
Today marks the third anniversary of the first diagnosed case of Ebola Virus Disease. Looking back over the last three years, the country has taken impressive strides to rebuild its health infrastructure – strengthening individuals, institutions, and systems – and improve health outcomes. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be reflecting on our partners’ progress with a series of posts, each highlighting a particular aspect of their work. Together these posts paint a picture of #ResilienceInAction
Physiotherapy In-Service Training
Recognizing that Connaught Hospital’s Physiotherapy nursing staff have limited opportunities to learn rehabilitation techniques before joining the department, KSLP and Connaught’s Physio team have established regular in-service teaching sessions to improve theory and practical skills within the department. This represents a creative solution for optimizing patient care in the Physiotherapy department, and is a perfect example of how Connaught Hospital staff exemplify #ResilienceInAction.
In January 2017, the Department of Clinical Pharmacy at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS) ran Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) for the first time. 23 students undertook tasks such as reviewing medical notes to identify drug related problems and counselling simulated patients about their medication. Introducing this type of assessment supports the development of essential skills and will strengthen the effectiveness of pharmacists within the healthcare team, just another example of #ResilienceInAction.
Sierra Leonean Students Complete KCL Electives
In Autumn 2016, three students from the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS) completed medical electives in the UK. Facilitated by KCL, electives give students the opportunity to gain medical experience within a different health and professional setting. Students form the UK will be completing placements over the next few months, thus strengthening links between the two student bodies. Improving opportunities for students to broaden their medical experience illustrates #ResilienceInAction.
Developing Antimicrobial Guidelines
Working with technical support from the KSLP ID team, Connaught Hospital staff have created an antimicrobial guideline. This has now been ratified by the Connaught Drugs and Therapeutics Committee, and will soon go to the Hospital Management Committee for final approval. We hope this important first step in our antimicrobial stewardship activities will improve the management of life threatening infections and reduce the misuse of antibiotics. Helping to prevent the development of anti-microbial resistance is a fantastic example of #ResilienceInAction
Continuous Professional Development for Mental Health Nurses
Mental Health Nurses, completing placements across Sierra Leone, participate in quarterly Continuous Professional Development trainings. These training weeks, run in collaboration with Building Back Better, help nurses to develop and refresh the knowledge and skills they need working in District Mental Health Units. We are proud to support the mental health workforce training and supervision that exemplifies #ResilienceInAction
Establishing a Physiotherapy Referral System
With so many patients entering Connaught Hospital’s main gates, it’s difficult to ensure that those who need physiotherapy get properly referred. In response, the Connaught Hospital Physiotherapy Department, with support from KSLP, has developed a formal referral pathway to ensure that patients are referred quickly and appropriately to prevent further complications in their care. Data illustrating the effectiveness of the referral process is being collected and will be presented at the World Confederation of Physical Therapists in Cape Town in July 2017. Efforts to improve patient outcomes and document these improvements with robust research is just another example of #ResilienceInAction
Launching a Medical Records System
Monday 20th March 2017 saw the launch of the new medical records system at Connaught Hospital, University of Sierra Leone Teaching Hospitals Complex. The medical records team had been working towards this day for 5 months, undertaking a wide-ranging project to archive old records and introduce a new lifelong patient record, including a unique patient ID for all newly registered patients. Good record keeping is a vital component of safe, high-quality care and the improvements have been warmly welcomed by Connaught’s clinicians. The Patient ID system has been carefully designed in collaboration with Connaught staff and uses an ingenious system combining a code relating to the patient’s place of birth, their initials and serial number. New developments like a medical records system is a perfect illustration of #ResilienceInAction
The Government of Sierra Leone identified laboratory strengthening as a key area on the road to recovery after the Ebola outbreak. In response, KSLP is working with the National Directorate of Hospitals and Laboratory Services and the WHO to assist in their programme of rolling out bacteriology and anti-microbial susceptibility testing to government hospitals representing the four main regions in Sierra Leone. Our partners are also working to create sustainable supply chains to allow donated equipment from the Ebola response to be incorporated into routine laboratory practice, a project that nicely illustrates #ResilienceInAction
Creating Synergy Between Theory and Practice
Lecturers at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS) Faculty of Nursing are working with technical input from KSLP to develop structured assessments for students in clinical placements using adapted material from Somaliland. Another new development is the introduction of Sierra Leone Early Warning Scores (SLEWS) training on vital signs into the diploma nursing course so that these students are well prepared for their clinical placement at Connaught hospital. This creates synergy between theory and practice and is another fantastic example of #ResilienceInAction
After the Ebola outbreak, Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation recommended that every government hospital maintain a permanent isolation unit as a preparedness measure against potential future outbreaks. Working with support from KSLP, Connaught Hospital established the first Centre of Excellence for Infectious Diseases in the country. It includes a permanent Infectious Diseases Unit and a special 3-bed room for highly infectious diseases such as Ebola or Viral Haemorrhagic Fever. Dr Masiray, Connaught Hospital’s Infectious Diseases Medical Officer, oversees the unit. Putting systems in place to prepare for future outbreaks exemplifies #ResilienceinAction
It’s only fitting that our wrap-up post for #ResilienceInAction falls on #WorldHealthDay and the final day of #HealthWorkerWeek. While the posts in this campaign highlighted progress from mental health to hospital management to infectious diseases, they all have one thing in common: the passion and dedication of the Sierra Leonean health workforce to rebuild the country’s health infrastructure and improve patient outcomes. We hope you enjoyed the posts over the last two weeks and invite you to celebrate the country’s progress and to look forward to the positive changes yet to come!