With only two psychiatrists and 19 mental health nurses (MHN), Sierra Leone has an extremely limited ability to diagnose and treat mental health (MH) conditions. Further, an overall poor understanding of MH conditions and limited MH training and education in the health workforce have contributed to high levels of stigma toward MH patients and services.
Glenna Beckley, Finance Officer of the Sierra Leone Association of Ebola Survivors (SLAES), joined SLAES to advocate for the needs of Ebola survivors like herself as many survivors lost their employment because of health issues and stigmatization. With help from Advancing Partners and Partners in Health, SLAES offers survivor-to-survivor support groups and adult literacy classes that can help survivors regain their livelihoods in the aftermath of Ebola.
Ebola survivors are often in need of specialty health services that cannot be provided at the local level. Nandy Fofana is a Referral Coordinator (RC) in Port Loko district. Nandy works with local health facilities to ensure that patients who need a higher level of care can be referred quickly. As part of the Sierra Leonean Government’s Comprehensive Program for Ebola Survivors (CPES), Advancing Partners has trained and mentored 18 RCs across the country to facilitate incoming and outgoing referrals at secondary and tertiary level of care facilities. They provide a critical link between primary care facilities and the more specialized levels of care within the health system.
M’balu Kamara is the Officer-in-Charge at Magbafth Maternal Child Health Post (MCHP) in Tonkolili district. She survived Ebola and came back to her health clinic, motivated to care for patients. With support from Advancing Partners, M’balu’s health facility is now able to serve its community better. The facility now meets infection prevention and control standards, which was made possible through facility renovation, installation of solar power, borehole drilling with a water tower to ensure 24/7 access to water, and through training and mentorship for health workers through the CTO.