IOM support to enhance access to reproductive health in remote areas of Sierra Leone

Published Date: 
Wed, 10/27/2021 - 04:45
Country: 
Sierra Leone

 

Freetown- The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has partnered with Initiative for Global Perinatal Care (IGPC) to deliver a training on Ultrasound to ensure access to perinatal care and management of new-borns in remote communities and border areas in the country.

As a result of inadequate capacities to conduct ultrasound services, health care workers especially in peripheral health Units (PHUs) in hard-to-reach areas in Sierra Leone refer cases of obstetric emergency to hospitals in major towns/ districts headquarter towns. Sometimes the delay of reaching these facilities by pregnant women can be deadly.

Portable ultrasound devices are also being made available to PHUs and Health Centres represented at the training.

“Innovation in the form of telemedicine in rural areas has a great potential and this project can really contribute to strengthen peripheral health system preventing and responding to obstetric emergencies”, said Maria Sole Dall’Oro, Project Coordinator at IOM Sierra Leone.

“We are working with IOM to deliver this training in rural areas and remote border communities because the people in these areas are hard to reach with medical modalities. So, we are doing this to reach the most disadvantaged group” said Dr. Kodaira Yuichi, Lead Trainer from IGPC.

The Health Care Workers learnt fundamental skills on how to locate the placenta, interpreting an ultrasound image and other approaches on how to conduct ultrasound scanning and assessment, among others.

“What we stressed in the training is the identification of pregnant women in an early stage which is really important because you can find the complications of pregnancies in a very early time before they developed serious consequences”. Dr Kodaira explained.

Lahai Bob Katta, Community Health Officer from Potoru Community Health Centre participated in the training. For him, the training is very important, and would enable him to address cases of obstetric emergency at the health Centre in his Village. “Before, we used to refer pregnant women to Pujehun Maternity Government Hospital for Ultrasound examination, but now that we have gone through the training, we can conduct ultrasound services”.

Last week, twenty-one Health Care workers including Community Health Officers and Midwives were part of the training in the border district of Pujehun, bringing the number to 42 medical practitioners who have benefited from IOM/ IGPC ultrasonography training.

“Through this training I have been empowered to accordingly respond to obstetric emergency cases that are being referred to our centre. I can now comfortably conduct clinical findings and confirm diagnosis using the ultrasound devices”, said Mariama Bangura, Midwife-in-charged, Pujehun Government Maternity Hospital

Also, last month in Bo District 21 midwives received training and more than 100 pregnant women were provided with ultrasound services. In the coming weeks and months, medics in district along border areas like Kailahun and Kambia will as well be reached for the training.

The programme is being delivered under the project “Strengthening Health System Capacity Preparedness and resilience in COVID19 Affected Points of Entry with Sierra Leone Diaspora” funded by the Government of Japan.

For more information, please contact Dr James Bagonza at IOM Sierra Leone, Email: jbagonza@iom.int or Maria Sole Dall’Oro, Email: mdalloro@iom.int. Media Enquiries: Alfred Fornah, Email: afornah@iom.int