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Sandra Lako

Sandra Lako: Ebola in Sierra Leone—one year on

27 May, 15 | by BMJ

sandra_lakoToday marks the one year anniversary since Ebola was confirmed in Sierra Leone. It is not a happy one year anniversary, but there is hope. Thankfully the numbers have significantly reduced from a top high of about 500 new cases per week to about eight cases per week. That is due, amongst other things, to an increase in the number of treatment beds in December (therefore not keeping sick people in the community as long), safe burials, revised messaging to communities (early treatment means a better chance of survival), involvement of community leaders, setting up labs to quickly diagnose Ebola, better treatment options such as intravenous fluids encouraging the public that Ebola is not always fatal, improved contact tracing, and hours and hours of work delivered by individuals in Sierra Leone. more…

Sandra Lako: The challenges of identifying and isolating Ebola cases in Sierra Leone

26 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

sandra_lakoAlthough the situation in Sierra Leone with respect to Ebola has improved considerably since November, there are still cases in Freetown every day. With Ebola still present, it is important to stay vigilant and have a high index of suspicion. Every single person that enters the hospital compound needs to be screened according to the case definition, and anyone meeting the case definition needs to be isolated and tested. One positive case can infect many people, and that needs to be avoided. more…

Sandra Lako: The impact of Ebola in Sierra Leone

14 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

sandra_lakoToday is the 228th day of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. A year ago I would not have believed anyone who told me that I would be in the middle of an Ebola outbreak in January 2015. A confirmed Ebola case in West Africa never crossed my mind. Even in May of last year, when the first positive case in Sierra Leone was announced, I could not imagine the extent to which this virus would spread throughout Sierra Leone. No one was ready for the battle we are up against.

To date there have been 7696 confirmed cases in the country, affecting people in every district. Still the virus is looming. It has been an incredibly challenging time for Sierra Leone. Life and work for many people has been consumed by this outbreak and sometimes it is hard to remember a time without Ebola. more…

Sandra Lako on x-ray machines and emergency rooms in Sierra Leone

10 Jun, 13 | by BMJ

sandra_lakoToday marks three years of working for Welbodi Partnership and it’s hard to believe that so much time has gone by. The last time I blogged, I wrote about getting more involved clinically. Well, that spell ended rather quickly, and before I knew it I was back to managing various projects.

Managing projects might sound a little boring, but really it’s quite exciting especially when I can be involved with big stuff that will make a huge difference. The fact that the projects I am working on will eventually save the lives of children in Sierra Leone excites me and keeps me going. more…

Sandra Lako: Clinical work

17 Jul, 12 | by BMJ

sandra_lakoMonday marked my first full day of clinical work at the Ola During Children’s Hospital. I spent the day in the outpatient department talking to parents, examining children, making an initial diagnosis, and starting treatments. It was a delight to be able to care for children again.

It has been difficult to combine my management/coordinating role with a clinical one. I love my job and definitely see the importance of what I am doing and the need to make sure that hospital systems/infrastructure/equipment are in place, but I often miss actually treating patients. Occasionally there are days during which I can spend a few hours doing clinical work, but it’s more of an exception than a rule. more…

Sandra Lako: Sierra Leone seven years on

8 Mar, 12 | by BMJ Group

sandra_lakoSeven years ago today I flew into Lungi airport on an SN Brussels flight together with a few other people who were soon to be my colleagues and housemates. I remember it being hot and sticky while we were waiting to get on a helicopter to reach Freetown. I remember the drive along the beach road to get to Wilberforce to our team house. I remember falling in love with our amazing gazebo there. And getting settled in to a place that I would call home for the next four years! more…

Sandra Lako: Busy times for Welbodi

2 Sep, 11 | by BMJ Group

Sandra LakoMy lack of recent blog posts is by no means due to a lack of something to report. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Life at Ola During Children’s Hospital (ODCH) has been busy and there are many exciting activities to keep us, and our partners, occupied. Let me update you on what has happened at the children’s hospital over the last few months. more…

Sandra Lako: Why do children come to the hospital so late?

13 Jun, 11 | by BMJ Group

Sandra LakoOne night, not too long ago, four children died in the emergency room at the Children’s Hospital. Two of them had been sick for more than two weeks before coming to the hospital for treatment, and sadly both children died within a few hours of admission. They had simply come too late.

Day after day in the emergency room at Ola During Children’s Hospital, Sierra Leone, parents arrive with extremely sick children, often on the verge of death. It is not uncommon for a mother to come in with a child gasping for breath, or a child who looks “paper white,” or is unconscious, or with very cold extremities who is in shock. Occasionally they even come with a child who has (unknowingly to them) died en route. It is tragic. more…

Sandra Lako: coordination and clinical work

31 May, 11 | by BMJ Group

Sandra LakoA lot of the work the Welbodi Partnership does is to coordinate and facilitate projects and training programs within the hospital. Our aim is capacity building – helping others to improve their skills rather than coming in to solely provide patient care. We believe that in the long run more patients will receive high-quality treatment and have better outcomes if we focus our current efforts on improving the services delivered in the hospital. That is why we have engaged in projects like electricity and water supply, the medical records/data collection and reporting system, the laboratory services, nursing care, the triage and emergency process, and training for the doctors. more…

Sandra Lako: World Malaria Day in Sierra Leone

28 Apr, 11 | by BMJ Group

Sandra Lako World Malaria Day was this week and unfortunately, although a preventable disease, malaria still kills many people in the developing world. At the children’s hospital I work at, we see malaria cases everyday. Some cases are very severe; the children are literally on death’s doorstep and other cases are mild and improve with oral medication. As you can imagine, the disease has a major impact on child health in Sierra Leone. more…

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