Sierra Leone’s maternal mortality rates are among the world’s highest and a third of all infants do not live to see the age of five. The Sanda Charity (SC) works to increase child and maternal survival rates by training public health staff and traditional birth assistants and clinic aides on basic reproductive health care, and working with health staff to improve services for common childhood illnesses, safe motherhood and immunizations.
In order to build a sustainable health care system and slowly phase full responsibility for health care delivery over to local structures, SC strives to build the capacity of clinic staff, the District Health Management Teams and communities themselves to address local health needs. In Kenema district, the SC works closely with the District Health Management Team to improve management practices within drug supply and distribution, health information systems and financial and administrative practices.
In an effort to prevent disease and reduce the country’s high child mortality rate, the SC conducts outreach programs to promote reproductive health, disease prevention, feeding and weaning and HIV/AIDS prevention.
The SC also undertook a major Lassa fever prevention campaign in all eight refugee camps, and surrounding host communities aimed at eradicating this potentially deadly hemorrhagic disease, which is spread by rats. The project successfully controlled of the incidence of Lassa fever per camp per month to below the target level, and documented improvements in hygiene behavior of the refugee and host community populations. Currently, project activities encompass hygiene promotion, surveillance, outbreak investigation and response activities in host communities where the remaining refugees are living and the strengthening institutional capacity of the District Health Management Team and other partners to run similar projects.