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Continuity of care in Ebola context in Sierra Leone

Train health professionals in the management of treatment interruptions, provide pediatric HIV care management and pregnant women monitoring, train 82 traditional birth attendants.

30 November 2015 |  Informations

SIERRA LEONESTRENGTHENING SYSTEMS AND HEALTH SERVICESCAPACITY BUILDINGHEALTH SERVICEHUMAN RESOURCES FOR HEALTHHEALTH PRODUCTS AND PHARMACEUTICAL SYSTEMHIV / AIDSEBOLA

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Guinea and Sierra Leone are among the three countries most affected by the Ebola virus, with Liberia. This virus caused a major health crisis and severely impact the access to care for all populations.

With the support of the INITIATIVE 5% (funded by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development), the FOUNDATION OF FRANCE, the BRUNEAU FOUNDATION and the Emergency Children Foundation (Fondation Enfants d'urgence), Solthis is implementing in Sierra Leone a project to facilitate the continuity of care for people living with HIV in this Ebola context.

The Ebola crisis has led to a decline in attendance of health facilities and strong pressure on drug supplies, endangering the continuity of vital treatments for patients with chronic diseases such as HIV / AIDS.
To meet this challenge, Solthis implements this project of continuity of care, by:

  • Supporting national pharmacists to ensure the availability of treatment
  • Training caregivers in treatments' interruptions management and in the strengthening of adherence to treatment and care
  • Supporting caregivers to ensure the continuity of pediatric care and pregnant women monitoring

 

newsSL2Securing the availability of treatments

In the context of general disorganization of the health system caused by the Ebola outbreak, Sierra Leone has experienced serious difficulties to ensure the availability of ARV drugs in health facilities.

Faced with these difficulties, Solthis supported the Logistic Unit of the National Aids Secretariat in charge of supplies in order to help unlock emergency treatmens' orders, get a loan of HIV drugs from the neighboring country, Guinea, and deliver treatment in health facilities as quickly as possible. Support has also been provided at the Freetown health centers level, to ensure optimal inventory management. Thus, 18 pharmacists were trained, equipment was supplied to pharmacies and a mobile communication platform was established in order to facilitate the exchange of information on orders and inventories between pharmacists in health facilities and those at the central level.

With this support, significant progress have already been made, but Solthis continues its efforts to avoid stock-outs.

 

Managing treatments interruptions

Our project helps to train and assist healthcare professionals in the management of treatment interruptions, and to strengthen adherence to treatment and care; which are already fundamental issues for HIV patients management, and particularly decisive in the current Ebola context.

Thus, Solthis supported the set-up of research systems for defaulters patients, children and adults, in conjunction with health professionals and patient associations to encourage patients who missed their follow-up appointments to return to health centers.

Trainings on the issue of therapeutic failures management were also organized, in the health centers supported in Freetown, for healthcare professionals to help them manage patients returning to care after an interruption of treatment. Finally, communications supports on adherence were also distributed to patient support groups to make the patients understand the importance of a regular intake of treatments.

 

 

Solthis continues its commitment to provide pediatric care and monitoring of pregnant women in Ebola context in Freetown

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Solthis is implementing a program to allow children managed in the largest pediatric hospital in the country, Ola During, to continue to have access to care and antiretroviral therapy. Solthis' pediatrician supports and trains the medical teams of the HIV unit of the children’s hospital in the capital Freetown.

Furthermore, at the peak of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, pregnant women have turned away from health centers to go see traditional birth attendants who are very respected within the population. In doing so, pregnant women, especially those living with HIV / AIDS are not subject to an effective medical care for her and their child. Indeed, HIV-positive pregnant women need monitoring and specific treatment to reduce the risk of HIV infection to their babies during pregnancy, especially during childbirth. Thus, to avoid increasing the rate of transmission from mother to child, Solthis, in partnership with the NAS (National Aids / HIV Secretariat), organized in June 2015 a 3-day workshop in Freetown and Western Waterloo Urban area, to allow 82 traditional birth attendants to be sensitized on the importance to refer pregnant women to health facilities to prevent the transmission of HIV / AIDS from mother to child.