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

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.

I am especially proud of three of the projects I have been working on over the past year: the x-ray project, setting up the side laboratory near the Emergency Room, and the accreditation process through the West African College of Physicians. All of these projects are works in progress, but they will in due time transform the Children’s Hospital.

I’ll write more about each of these projects in separate posts but here are a few thoughts on why I love these projects:

Imagine a digital x-ray machine arriving at a hospital where x-rays haven’t been taken for over 9 years and in a country where digital imaging is still very rare.

Imagine that your child is unconscious and doctors are now able to do a rapid test for malaria in the side laboratory and start your child on antimalarial treatment promptly to save your child’s life.

Imagine three x-ray technicians excited about their employment at a government hospital and being some of the only technicians in the country to work with a digital x-ray machine.

Imagine a medical student graduating from medical school knowing that in-country postgraduate training will soon be a reality at the Children’s Hospital and they won’t need to go abroad for further training.

Imagine if you are the mom of a very sick child and instead of needing to trek across town with your sick baby for an x-ray, you can get an x-ray done on the same compound very close to the ward.

Imagine the excitement when each of these projects comes to completion! I’m thankful to be a part of the Welbodi Partnership team and that we are able to accomplish so much and improve the Children’s Hospital by working alongside hospital staff and our colleagues in the Ministry of Health.

Here’s to the next three years.

Sandra Lako is a doctor from the Netherlands who previously spent four and a half years in Sierra Leone setting up and managing a paediatric outpatient clinic with an organisation called Mercy Ships. After a year at home, she returned to Sierra Leone to volunteer as medical coordinator with the Welbodi Partnership, a UK based charity supporting the only government run children’s hospital in a country where one in five children do not reach the age of five.