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Sandra Lako

Sandra Lako: Life-saving blood

11 Feb, 11 | by BMJ

Sandra LakoWhile driving past an NGO hospital last week a friend read out a sign painted on the hospital wall stating that patients need to come with their own blood donors. He thought that was very odd but having been here for years it didn’t seem strange to me. I suppose in the developed world, one would not see such a sign. more…

Sandra Lako: Journal club

13 Dec, 10 | by BMJ

Sandra LakoToday was the launch of the journal club at the Ola During Children’s Hospital. Two professors, seven national doctors and three expatriate doctors sat together in an office for the first meeting of its kind. more…

Sandra Lako on the prospects and challenges of a functioning x ray department

17 Nov, 10 | by BMJ

Sandra LakoThe Ola During Children’s Hospital is close to having the x ray unit up and running. This is very exciting especially since it has been 6 years since the last x ray was taken at Ola During Children’s Hospital. Can you imagine a hospital without x ray services? more…

Sandra Lako on the importance of prevention

26 Oct, 10 | by BMJ Group

Sandra LakoA few weeks ago a child came to the hospital with classic signs of tetanus: a locked jaw, rigidity of the muscles, and jerking of the body. The diagnosis was obvious. The doctors and nurses tried to cure the child, but in reality they had little to offer. The children’s hospital is not set up to manage these cases effectively. And so, a few days after admission, the child passed away and a preventable disease took the life of yet another child. Unfortunately the child was not immunised. This time it was tetanus next time it might be malaria. more…

Sandra Lako on a night check at the hospital

8 Oct, 10 | by BMJ

Sandra LakoIt’s 1:00 am. My colleague and I have just returned from a surprise visit to the hospital. Three times a month we do spot checks on the wards; periodically we check during the early or late shifts and occasionally during the night and weekend shifts. The reason for these checks is that the Welbodi Partnership set up a performance-based incentive scheme a couple of months ago to monitor nursing care at the hospital with the aim of improving staff performance and ultimately reducing child mortality. more…

Sandra Lako: The death of a child …

28 Sep, 10 | by BMJ

Sandra Lako

This afternoon an expatriate internal medicine doctor started an ultrasound workshop with the doctors. I thought it would be useful for me to go, so I did. The ultrasound room is adjacent to the emergency room so while we were waiting for doctors to arrive the internist and I were reviewing a few patients. more…

Sandra Lako: Intraosseous access saves lives

23 Sep, 10 | by BMJ

Sandra Lako

One afternoon I passed through the emergency room and noticed two doctors hovering over a patient attempting to get intravenous access. As in many of the emergency cases, the patient’s circulation was poor. While one doctor was attempting jugular access, I suggested inserting an intraosseous needle. more…

Sandra Lako on the nurses’ workshop in Freetown.

17 Aug, 10 | by BMJ

Sandra LakoRecently the Welbodi Partnership was privileged to have a paediatric nurse from the United Kingdom volunteering at the children’s hospital for two months. The volunteer nurse spent the first month assessing the nurses on the wards and working alongside them in a mentorship capacity. This provided an opportunity to work with the Sierra Leonean nurses one-on-one and transfer knowledge and skills to them individually. As the days went by it was clear that a number of key areas of nursing needed to be addressed in a collective manner. more…

Sandra Lako on progress at the Ola During Children’s Hospital

4 Aug, 10 | by BMJ

Sandra LakoDuring my time in Sierra Leone from 2005-2009, I often visited the Children’s Hospital in Freetown. At the time I was working in a paediatric outpatient clinic and frequently saw patients who needed to be referred for in-patient care. I had two options at the time: either the emergency surgical centre or Ola During Children’s Hospital. more…

Sandra Lako on her return to Freetown

23 Jul, 10 | by BMJ Group

Sandra LakoAfter being away from Sierra Leone for a year, it is good to be back.

Previously I spent four and a half years in Sierra Leone working for an NGO, running an outpatient pediatric clinic. Now, I am working in the government-run Children’s Hospital, volunteering as medical coordinator for a UK-based charity called the Welbodi Partnership. The contrast in jobs is great but I am excited about this new role. more…

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