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Emily Spry

Emily Spry on what motivates healthcare workers

24 Aug, 10 | by emilyspry

Pikin HospitalYes, I’m still in shock. After a year at the Children’s Hospital, I am now safely ensconced in a north London suburb, doing my final year of GP training. Gone is the stifling heat, the dust, the endless parade of near-dead toddlers. Instead I am working in a friendly, well-ordered practice. I only need hit “print” for my patient to miraculously receive the optimum medication for their condition, for free. It’s amazing! more…

Emily Spry: Does Freetown really exist?

21 Jul, 10 | by emilyspry

Pikin HospitalI’m back in London after spending nearly a year working in the national Children’s Hospital in Sierra Leone, West Africa, one of the poorest countries in the world.
It has been amazing to come back to the luxuries of reliable water and power, safe and efficient transport, and a seemingly unlimited procession of utterly fabulous clothes, perfumes, shops, magazines, interiors and many other material things that I normally have precisely no interest in.  My boyfriend and I recently got engaged on a beautiful beach in Sierra Leone, meaning that our return has prompted more champagne, smiles, and hugs than we could possibly have hoped for.


Emily Spry on leaving Freetown

30 Jun, 10 | by emilyspry

Pikin HospitalToday is my last day in Freetown.  I’m heading back to London tonight.  It seems hard to believe that the UK is a mere six hour flight away.  Perhaps more so given our unusual method of getting to Freetown last August; my boyfriend and I travelled overland for six weeks in an old Landrover through six countries.
A few weeks before we left the UK last year, we had the idea to get a large sticker on the side of the Landy with a map of our route, the flags of the countries we were passing through and the legend “London to Freetown.”


Emily Spry: Being pestered is part of being a foreigner in Freetown

24 Jun, 10 | by emilyspry

Pikin HospitalTwo young boys once helped me when my bicycle tyre was ripped right open by a bit of metal in the road.  I spent an hour or so sitting with one while his cousin, who also had a bicycle, took my wheel to the repair man.  When he came back, I tipped them both as thanks – they had been really helpful.  Then the older one, Abdul, said, “Emily, give me your number, so that I can call you at any time.”  I felt obliged and, I reasoned, as he was a school kid, he was never going to have access to enough phone credit to call me “at any time;” it was just a turn of phrase.


Emily Spry on crowd control in Sierra Leone.

1 Jun, 10 | by emilyspry

Pikin HospitalI haven’t written for a month, but that is certainly not because there hasn’t been anything going on at the children’s hospital in Freetown. Rather, it is the opposite. It is hard to sit and reflect when there is so much going on. I’ll try to write up a few of the things from the past month that really stick in my mind.


Emily Spry on the launch of the free health care initiative

29 Apr, 10 | by emilyspry

Pikin HospitalYesterday was Independence Day in Sierra Leone, marking the start of the country’s fiftieth year since independence. It was also the launch of the President’s free health care initiative for pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under 5. more…

Emily Spry: The free health care initiative in Sierra Leone

22 Apr, 10 | by emilyspry

Pikin HospitalIt is now less than one week until the launch of the free health care initiative in Sierra Leone when, as regular readers will know, government health facilities, such as my own dear Children’s Hospital, will be required to provide free healthcare to children under five, pregnant and breast-feeding women.

The big day is Tuesday 27th April, Independence Day, when the nation will celebrate 49 years since the end of colonial rule by Britain. more…

Emily Spry is back in Freetown

8 Apr, 10 | by emilyspry

Pikin HospitalIf you blinked, you probably missed it, but I’m back in Freetown after a short Easter jaunt to the UK to see my family and a few friends. I was surprised but delighted to be snowed on in the mountains in Wales; at least I can say that I experienced the legendary winter of 2009-2010, no matter how briefly. more…

Emily Spry: The strike continues

26 Mar, 10 | by emilyspry

Pikin HospitalAfter 11 days, the total strike of all government healthcare workers in Sierra Leone has finally been elevated to a BBC World Service African news headline.

Yesterday, the President called all the doctors and nurses to a meeting in a room at the Stadium. more…

Emily Spry: Sierra Leone doctors still on strike

23 Mar, 10 | by emilyspry

Pikin HospitalDespite my best efforts, I seem to have ended up with four sick babies and a mother with an infected Caesarian wound, all of us stranded in an unused wing of the fanciest hospital in Freetown.

It all started on Wednesday when the doctors and nurses went on strike across the capital.  As I have noted before, doctors here are paid around $100 per month and nurses around $50 per month, not enough to live on in Freetown.  After the strike was called, there was a flurry of phone calls and between myself, two German NGO nurses, the VSO doctor and an experienced neonatal nurse, who also volunteers almost full-time with me for the Welbodi Partnership. more…

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