Freetown Team

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.

 

Daniel Youkee, Country Director

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.

Suzanne Thomas, Education Manager

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!

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.

Salvador Aquino, Hospital Maintenance & Engineering Manager

I decided to stay with KSLP Team up to March 2018 to work on 2 things; improving the operation, maintenance, and management of Connaught Hospital Oxygen Factory to make it sustainable and optimize its benefits to the patients and the hospital. The battle cry is to ensure availability of medical oxygen to the hospital whenever it is needed, through the oxygen generator, oxygen concentrator machines or through cylinders.I started to work as Volunteer for KSLP in May 2017 to supervise and oversee the construction of the Centre of Excellence for Infectious Diseases (CEID). The building was formerly the Chest Clinic of Connaught Hospital until it was used as Ebola Holding Unit at the height of Ebola crisis in 2014.

Secondly, to strengthen the maintenance unit organization by putting in place systems and procedures, documentations, work prioritization, efficiency and effectiveness improvement, through planning and consultation with various stakeholders and develop doable system of monitoring and supervision. It is my hope that the concept of maintenance management – “maintenance is everyone’s responsibility” – will get started and inculcated in the culture of the hospital within this period.

To work in an environment with scarce resources like in Connaught Hospital adds excitement to the challenges at hand. This is the motivation that drove me to decide to extend my stay.

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!

Fenella Beynon, Clinical Researcher – Infectious Diseases

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 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’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.

Sorie Ironn-Sky Turay, IT and Data Systems Manager

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 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.

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.

Sylvanus Thompson – Bookkeeper

Before joining the KSLP Team, I have worked with some Government Institutions like, Sierra Leone Commercial Bank and Ministry of Finance and Economic Development as short term employee. Meanwhile, I was working with a local NGO called Winners Foundation for Vulnerable Children from October, 2013 to September, 2014 as the Finance and Administrative Officer before the shutdown of the Organisation due to the deadly Ebola epidemic outbreak within the operating Community. Furthermore, I later worked with Partners In Health- Sierra Leone as the first Accountant of the Organisation in all of the three operations area, Freetown, Portloko and Kono from February, 2015 to June, 2017 to oversee all Financial transactions, in order to fight and combat the deadly Ebola epidemic outbreak and also to strengthening the health care system of our beloved Country.I am very delighted to join the KSLP Team as a Bookkeeper in July, 2017 with the day to day responsibilities of overseeing the office Petty Cash and Banking transactions of the Organisation.

Moreover, I am a Bachelor Degree (BSc.) holder in Accounting & Finance- Division Two (2) from the Institute of Advanced Management & Technology (IAMTECH) / Affiliate of Njala University. Basically, my main principle in daily life activities of both Human and work relationships is “Transparency and Accountability” which I will always stand by for a better career development.

Imogen Jones, Infectious Diseases Doctor

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.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.

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

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 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.

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, Implementation Coordinator

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.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.

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.

Natarajan (Raj) Rajaraman, Medical Educator

My primary role is supporting the efforts of our partners in the College of Medicine & Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS) and Connaught Hospital, in building the capabilities of the country’s only medical school. Notable projects include facilitating implementation of the new medical curriculum, and establishing a simulation-based clinical skills training room.I joined KSLP as a volunteer medical educator in January 2017. My background is in medicine, public health, and education, with an interest in health systems strengthening and vulnerable populations. I was drawn to KSLP by the opportunity to serve at a critical juncture in Sierra Leone’s development.

It has been humbling to witness the grit and vision of our medical students, and the commitment of faculty and clinical staff to nurture them, undeterred by daily resource limitations.

Hege Lind, Mental Health Nurse Specialist

I have worked for many years with drug addiction, psychosis, dual diagnosis and eating disorders. I have experience in procurement and contract management for the City of Oslo Department for Welfare Services and the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities. My previous job was at a national advisory unit, where my role was to write a report on professional framework and research for specialized substance use treatment in Norway.I am a registered generalist nurse from Norway. I graduated from nursing school in Oslo in 1993 and later took my candidata magisterii in psychology and cadidata sanitas in health science from the University of Oslo in 2005.

I am excited by moving to Sierra Leone with my Sierra Leonean husband and at the same time have the opportunity to work with King’s, trying to build the mental health capacity through supervision of mental health nurses and policy development. KSLP’s values of capacity building, sustainability, and partnership work aligned with my own professional values, so I am proud to be a part of the team.

Fiona Napier – Emergency Medicine Doctor

I admire the local doctor’s dedication to their patients despite the difficult circumstances in which they practise and look forward to collaborating with them and a range of experts from King’s to implement new ideas. There is a wealth of experience in partnership work amongst the team from which I hope to learn.I joined the King’s team in February 2017 as the in-country lead for emergency medicine. I completed Emergency Medicine training in the West Midlands in August 2016, having sub-specialised in Paediatric Emergency Medicine. An interest in global health prompted me to undertake the Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Liverpool, where I first heard of King’s Sierra Leone Partnership and was impressed with the ethos of the partnership and the focus on sustainability.

During my year at Connaught Hospital I hope to help strengthen the emergency medicine systems through innovation, guideline development, undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and generally encouraging the staff around me. Another aim is to become proficient enough in Krio to master the Freetown transport system! I also envisage accumulating a decent collection of the local brightly coloured and patterned lappa clothing.

Dawn Harris – Mental Health Coordinator

I consider myself extremely fortunate to be working in Sierra Leone at a time when mental health is receiving greater recognition and rising up the global agenda. I am inspired by the dedication and hard work shown by the mental health nurses and feel there is a lot that can be learnt from these individuals. I am also astounded by the resilience of Sierra Leoneans when day to day life can be a significant struggle.I joined the KSLP team in March 2017 as the Mental Health Coordinator. The aim of my role is to help build capacity of mental health services, working closely with the Mental Health Nurses to assist with their ongoing career development and delivering training. Prior to volunteering in Sierra Leone I completed my Core Psychiatry Training in London. I have a strong interest in general adult psychiatry and perinatal mental health.

I hope that during my time with KSLP I can continue to build upon this dedication to help raise awareness of mental illness, allowing more people to receive the treatment they need. I look forward to exploring several of the other districts in Sierra Leone when the job allows me travel outside of Freetown.

Hannah Rickman, Internal Medicine Doctor

I’m splitting my time between the internal medicine clinical team and on projects focusing on HIV. Working on the wards has been challenging and eye-opening, but it’s been a real privilege to be alongside house officers and medical officers who face a steep learning curve and heavy responsibilities with amazing dedication. I’m working with local partners in Connaught and in the National AIDS Secretariat to try to promote earlier HIV diagnosis and to improve care for our patients with HIV.I came to Sierra Leone in January 2017 to work as a Volunteer Internal Medicine Doctor. Prior to that I completed my Core Medical Training in London, before heading to Tanzania and Uganda to gain my Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene through the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

It’s been inspiring to meet such dedicated and enthusiastic people here, within KSLP and more widely. In my free time, I’m enjoying exploring the country and am battling dehydration and sunburn in my attempts to train for the Sierra Leone Marathon.

Rachael Burke, Clinical Infectious Diseases Researcher

I joined the KSLP team in August 2017. My role focuses on building the capacity of Sierra Leonean Partners to do infectious disease research – through teaching, mentoring and working alongside partners on research projects.  At the moment we’re working on projects around hepatitis B, improving HIV care at Connaught and establishing the Centre for Excellence in Infectious Disease.

Prior to moving to Sierra Leone, I completed Core Medical Training in London.  I have a MSc degree in Global Health from the University of Oxford and the Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the Royal College of Physicians.  I have previous experience working in infectious disease research at University of Cape Town, Medical Research Council Uganda and Queens University Belfast.

I had been to Sierra Leone before in 2009, and it’s fantastic to be back and see the changes in the interim 8 years.  It’s a real privilege to be here, to work with our partners and to help support research that will lead to better care of infectious diseases in this country.

Naina McCann, Internal Medicine & Infectious Diseases Doctor

I’m excited to have joined the KSLP team in November 2017. Whilst here in Sierra Leone I will be doing a mix of clinical and project-based work to support the local partners in the areas of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. This includes working on projects to strengthen local malaria systems and to develop and implement internal medicine guidelines.

I recently completed my Core Medical Training in London, and will be starting specialist training in Infectious Diseases & General Internal Medicine training on my return from Sierra Leone. My interest in Global Health has previously led me to spend time working in South Africa working on a public health project, and last year I completed the Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene through the Royal College of Physicians.

I’m really looking forward to meeting and working with local partners and building on the excellent work that’s already been done here.

Lucy Hartshorn, Hospital Performance Monitor

I am working with the Referral Coordinators (RC) team to support the MOHS Program Implementation Unit’s network of RCs in government hospitals across the country – including Connaught! Since starting at the end of October 2017, I’ve been spending my time in Sierra Leone supporting the networks and referrals between the secondary and tertiary hospitals. This involves working with the King’s RC Team, the Referral Coordinators, and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation’s Program Implementation Unit doing a mix of supporting referral processes, design of data analysis systems and communicating the results of all the Referral Coordinators hard work!

My interest in health systems strengthening comes from a mixed background in biomedical sciences and global health. Most recently, I worked with THET to support health partnerships in London, Tanzania and Uganda. It’s exciting and humbling to be here in Freetown working with KSLP, and I’m looking forward to more work on developing both the Sierra Leonean health system referrals and my tolerance for spice.

Sophie Bright, Physiotherapy Coordinator

I am hugely excited to be joining the team as Physiotherapy Coordinator in November 2017.  Since graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2011, I have been working at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, specialising in Neurological and Stroke Rehabilitation. I have also always had an interest in Physiotherapy within International Development, and my passion for this was confirmed whilst volunteering in Ethiopia with VSO for 3 months. I am hugely impressed by the work already undertaken by the KSLP team, and look forward to helping the current Physiotherapy projects develop further.

Sorie Samura, Referral Coordinator Mentor

 

 

 

 

 

Rosie Watts, Laboratory Volunteer

I have been a Public Health England (PHE) Scientist since graduating from the University of Brighton in 2013 with BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science. I have an interest in vaccines & immunology as well as in addressing global health inequalities. I volunteered with GOAL in 2015 at the Port Loko ETC laboratory and I am glad to return to Sierra Leone as a laboratory volunteer with KSLP.

It’s extremely exciting to be working at the refurbished & improved lab at Connaught hospital that formally opened the month I started with KSLP – November 2017. My aims will be to help improve laboratory practice and turnaround times for essential diagnostic testing, with a focus on malaria & non-malarial fever. Although working at Connaught I hope to learn lessons and develop implementation strategies that can be rolled-out to other hospital labs in Sierra Leone.

It’s fantastic to see the resilience of Sierra Leone and the differences since my visit in 2015, particularly seeing children on the way to/from schools which were previously closed due to the Ebola outbreak. The strength and positive attitudes I encounter never ceases to amaze me, from people that have managed to overcome civil war, Ebola & natural disasters, all in such a short space of time. Sierra Leone truly is a beautiful country with a huge amount to offer.

 

 

 

Unless otherwise specified, these images were taken by Ibby Kabia and Philippa Tetlow. Photo © KSLP 2016.