In 2017, MSF started to build a new hospital specialising in paediatric and maternity care in Kenema, one of the regions hardest hit by the Ebola epidemic of 2014. The MSF Academy has been involved in training for the hospital staff from the start, be it by providing nursing scholarships, by dispensing the Basic Clinical Nursing Care programme for all the nursing staff and the Midwifery programme for the maternity ward staff, or by implementing the Outpatient Care initiative.
The Nursing & Midwifery Initiative in Sierra Leone
Basic Clinical Nursing Care programme
Since the beginning of the programme implementation in 2020, 84 learners have already graduated from the Basic Clinical Nursing Care programme and received competence certificates. Fourty are currently enrolled in the full programme, and over 55 nurse-aides are following an adapted version of the programme, in line with their specific roles and responsibilities.
Midwifery Care programme
The first MSF Academy roll-out of the Midwifery Clinical Care programme started in Kenema in October 2022, with over 45 learners enrolled, including midwives, maternity nurses and supervisors. Some sessions have been open to other hospital staff, such as community health officers and health promotion and psychology staff, whenever relevant for them.
From October 2022 until July 2023, more than 800 deliveries took place in Kenema’s maternity ward, where all the midwives and nurses working there are enrolled in the Midwifery Care programme.
Operating Theatre nursing care programme
The first roll-out of the Operating Theatre programme started in Kenema in April 2023 with 16 learners. Some of them had already completed the full BCNC programme, while some others went through the identified BCNC prerequisite units and skills.
The unit on ‘Communicating with patients and family’ has helped me a lot. There has been much improvement in the way we communicate with patients and the way we welcome them here. You need to understand them and calm them down
Doris Nkailondo, midwife in Kenema, Sierra Leone
Training programme for Community Health Officers in Kenema
As Community Health Officers (CHOs) take care of much of the clinical work in Sierra Leone, a CHO programme was developed following requests from the MSF mission. In Sierra Leone, CHOs receive three years of basic clinical training and are traditionally the providers of frontline primary healthcare in the communities.
The programme started in 2020 with around 30 CHOs, and experienced some delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The first graduation took place in July 2023, with 29 learners. Over 30 CHOs are currently enrolled in the programme.
The Outpatient Care programme in Sierra Leone
The implementation of the Outpatient care initiative started in 2020 in Sierra Leone, and it has been completed in four community health centres in Nongowa district (Hangha, Largo, Nekabo, Boadjibu and Dodo) and at the Kenema MSF staff health clinic.
Over 40 participants, including community health officers, community health assistants, state-enrolled community health nurses and maternal and child health aides, have graduated.
The results obtained demonstrate a clear improvement: the participants have increased the number of skills and competencies they perform in their routine activities, as well as their level of autonomy.
The OPD curriculum obtained recognition as CPD by the Sierra Leonean government’s Nurses and Midwives Board.