Let’s mentally walk through a typical Canadian hospital. We drive into the parking lot and walk across the pavement to the front door. There is nothing really remarkable because everything is as it should be: Trash bins in convenient locations, hospital waste is safely tucked away out of sight and out of risk of contamination. We walk in the front door. We’re greeted by a registration desk, a waiting room, washrooms, hand sanitizer dispensers, and more trash bins. There’s electricity, computers, and intercoms and telephones for communication. When it’s our turn, we’re called in by a nurse who escorts us to the area of the hospital designated for us, skirting other areas that do not pertain to our needs. We take it all in stride. But we are actually very privileged.
In hospitals like Masanga Hospital in Sierra Leone, consistent power and electricity, proper waste management, sufficient water and sanitation, and patient flow control were envied luxuries. It was due to these shortcomings that Masanga Hospital was forcibly shut down during the Ebola outbreak from September 2014 to April 2015. Among other things, the Ebola outbreak revealed just how poorly equipped the health systems were in the countries hardest hit. As the rate of infection dramatically decreases, ADRA is working to strengthen health systems. One way in which it is doing this is through its support of Masanga Hospital.
ADRA Canada in partnership with ADRA UK has taken huge strides in fast-tracking Masanga Hospital’s reopening. Fences have been erected around and within the hospital compound to control more effectively the flow of patients and visitors. Fences also now shield patients and visitors from dangerous contact with hospital waste. The hospital is also installing a solar power system to pump additional water to the hospital for sanitation, patient care, and waste management. This additional water is pumped through a new piping system that can handle the additional water flow. The solar power system is also providing more consistent power and electricity. This enables hospital staff to administer oxygen treatments, have lights during night shifts, and better communication and connectivity through the Internet. Finally, more sanitation facilities are being constructed for both inpatients and outpatients.
What we consider the bare minimum of requirements for hospitals is now becoming a reliable reality for Masanga Hospital. This is thanks to the compassionate support of donors to the Ebola crisis. The impact of this response will reach further than this current public health challenge. It will help prevent further public health challenges, and respond more effectively to them if they arise. In this way, the gifts of our donors keep on giving!