The Ebola epidemic force Masanga Hospital in Sierra Leone to shut down for several months. It is now taking steps to reopen with the aid of funds from the Kavli Trust.
Text: Teresa Grøtan
Photos: Masanga Hospital
With the trust’s help, the hospital can reopen under secure and hygienic conditions, says fundraiser Louise Ravn Christiansen at Denmark’s Masanga DK organisation. “This reduces the risk of encouraging a further spread of the epidemic.”
Masanga Hospital stands in the Tonkolili district, a jungle area in the heart of the west African country, and serves 400 000 people.
First opened in the 1960s to treat lepers, its buildings and operations were shattered during the 1991-2002 civil war when it served as a rebel base. Danish surgeon Peter Bo Jørgensen managed to get the institution back on its feet in 2006 in collaboration with a British aid organisation.
Masanga DK has been established in Denmark to help develop the hospital. In cooperation with other aid bodies, it operates the facility and educates health personnel in a country with a huge shortage of such professionals.
Norway’s CapaCare organisation, another recipient of support from the Kavli Trust, also has its base at the hospital for educating health workers to perform surgical procedures.
When the Ebola epidemic began to rage in Sierra Leone last August, the hospital had to close because of shortages of medicine and deficiencies in emergency response. Foreign staff were sent home.
Funds from the Kavli Trust and others have now helped polyclinic treatment to resume, although admitting patients to the hospital remains too hazardous. The trust’s contribution will pay to protect medicines through refrigerated storage and improvements to the pharmacy, and to help provide waste disposal.
“This cautious start is necessary to test procedures for dealing with suspected Ebola cases and because certain facilities still need to be built up,” reports Christiansen.
However, the outlook is promising. Not a single case of Ebola has been identified in the Tonkolili district over the past 150 days.
Masanga DK here
Interview with surgeon Håkon Bolkan, who trains health workers in surgical procedures at Masanga Hospital here