Building a brighter future for the children of Sierra Leone
How many great Rotary projects are the result of one person's inspiration and dedication? The Children's Hospital in Bo, Sierra Leone, is one. It was the vision of Dr Nuli Lemoh, a Sydney pediatrician and Rotarian, born in Bo now living in Sydney, where he is a member of the Rotary Club of Turramurra.
Dr Lemoh practiced in Sierra Leone but moved to Sydney with his Australian wife and young family as a consequence of civil war in his homeland. Nuli came from a poor, illiterate family in Sierra Leone, where there is a very low child survival rate - one in six babies die at birth and in the under five-years mortality rate is 182/1000. Nuli's dream to build the hospital has become a reality - shared by the community of Bo, Rotary Clubs in Bo, Australia, and the UK, Sydney University International House Alumni Association and many private donors, schools and church groups.
In the first 12 months in the operation of the hospital it treated more than 2000 children, with a mortality rate less than 1%. The completed Stage 1 contains 11 beds for both day and overnight admissions, also providing outpatients' clinics, imaging and laboratory facilities, a dispensary and minor surgery.
When all three stages are completed, it will provide 22 beds including an isolation ward. Plans are to expand the hospital to 60-100 beds. It is the community of Bo who built and are running the hospital. Its supporters in Australia, the UK and around the world provided advice and funded the work. Donations created the opportunity for the community to help itself.
The hospital is serving its purpose and has enormous potential but there is still much more to do to complete Stage 3 to include more beds. Also, while the hospital collects revenue from those that can pay, financial assistance will be required for some time until the hospital can completely source its own funds.
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