By Aruna Turay
Country Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in
Sierra Leone, Anders Nordstrom, has assured his organization’s
continued support to Sierra Leone’s only maternal referral hospital,
Princes Christian Memorial Hospital (PCMH) commonly known as Cottage
hospital in Freetown in handling Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care
Mr. Nordstrom was speaking over the weekend at a round table
discussion with doctors, senior nurses and staff of WHO and Cottage
hospital at the hospital’s conference room in the east end of the
The meeting was summoned by Dr. Alimamy Philip Koroma, Medical
Superintendent at PCMH to discuss on skills-based training on EmONC at
Briefing the WHO boss and delegation on how it all started and why,
current situation of the hospital, challenges and what is the dream
about its future, Dr. Koroma said the unacceptable maternal and
newborn deaths from preventable causes in Sierra Leone are still on
He said at PCMH, they are witnessing this painful tragedy so often and
that they know that these deaths can be averted. As an institution, he
went on, “we have decided to adopt a different approach in building
our technical capacities and teamwork to position ourselves in
responding to this tragedy.”
He said the approach they are putting in place is ‘On- the -Job or
Whole – Site Training’ of their staff and that this approach is aimed
at meeting the learning needs of the site.
The doctor said the training approach links supervision and training,
emphasizes teamwork and sustainability, and includes a range of
training strategies, adding that the approach actively engages
supervisors in the identification of learning needs at the site,
planning and implementing required training, and facilitating newly
acquired skills through coaching, mentoring and teamwork.
He said so far, they have started with EmONC skills based training as
a critical entry point and still continuing with EmONC skills
strengthening, adding that 45 providers have been trained (doctors,
midwives, CHOs and SECHNs) during the two trainings they have had with
support from WHO.
He said five on site mentors have been identified from the two
trainings and are mentoring others; ward in – charges being utilized
as internal supervisors to supervise and support those who have been
trained; teamwork being encourage and have started multidisciplinary
morning meeting and have established a position of Coordinator with an
office to coordinate the training programmes.
In addition, the doctor said they have mobilizing all the partners
toward this one goal at making the on the job- on site training
approach work and make a difference and that the partners
contributions/activities are coordinated by the Core team (group
comprising of different stakeholders CNMO, RFP program, UNFPA, WHO,
Dr. A.P. Koroma said progress is slow but that they are determined to
make a difference despite numerous challenges with regards changing
mind-sets and attitudes of staff which cannot be achieved in a day.
He noted the establishment of Resource Centre to run their training
sessions, the need for skills lab for practising skills, inadequate
material for skill training (simulation), the lack of internet
facility, the lack of motivation for core team leaders, supervisors
and coordinators and above all the need for more training of clinical
staff as some other challenges.
In future, Dr. Koroma went on, plans are underway to continue building
on their efforts and addressing the challenges and also mobilize more
partners to support our efforts so that we succeed in achieving the
results – contribute significantly to the reduction of maternal and
He said they have plans to make the PCMH becomes a centre of
excellence for quality for maternal and newborn health, which is why
they are asking WHO to join them in making these plans a reality.
Speaking earlier, WHO’s Anders Nordstrom thanked and congratulated Dr.
Koroma for such a wonderful initiative and assured him that he has
listened to the cries and challenges of the hospital and that his
organization will come on board and help.