To improve medical care within the country, the German association Hilfe direkt Oldenburg – Sierra Leone V.i.B. e.V. (‘Aid Direct Oldenburg - Sierra Leone’) completed the construction of a hospital with fifty beds, which replaced the rented facility previously used. After Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, Bo is the second largest city in the Western African country. To realize the project in Bo, which was financed through donations, volunteers were needed as well as plenty of practical skills. “The construction work was completed without machinery; everything was done by hand - it’s not just the bricks that were made by hand, but also the doors and windows. The walls were built by hand, and the concrete floor was poured by hand,” explains Gisela Bednarek, Chair of the association Hilfe direkt Oldenburg – Sierra Leone V.i.B. e.V. After taking five years to build, Gila’s Children’s and Community Hospital was officially opened in November 2011 and now serves 450,000 people in Bo and the surrounding area.
‘Stan’, the classic model skeleton provided by 3B Scientific, is now on hand as a visual aid to explain and clearly show the connections within human anatomy to patients and care staff undergoing training. This is of huge benefit in a country like Sierra Leone, where there is no compulsory, so over half of the population is illiterate, making written patient information meaningless. After the civil war years, Sierra Leone is one of the world’s poorest nations. As a result, there is a low average life expectancy here of 42 years; around a third of children die before their fifth birthday. Malaria, infections caused by accidents and diarrheal diseases are among the most common causes of death.