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Empowering and protecting health care workers to take action against Covid-19 in Sierra Leone

1 September 2020 |  Informations

SIERRA LEONEHIV / AIDS

“When we heard about the pandemic, health professionals in Sierra Leone were concerned because we knew nothing about COVID-19,” says Ruby Louisa Dandas, a health professional in Sierra Leone. Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in March 2020, Sierra Leone has nowadays more than 1,900 confirmed cases. In support of the Ministry of Health, Solthis has refocused its activities to build the capacity of health workers to better cope with the pandemic and continue essential care for other diseases.

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Habsatu Bah, nurse at Lungi Government Hospital
Habsatu Bah is working at the Lungi Governement hospital is HIV nurse counsellor and has working with Solthis over a year now.
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Before, I had no idea about the control and prevention measures to be taken, especially as my facility is a COVID-19 treatment centre. With the knowledge gained from the training, I now know how to do things better. For example, we go into the centre to carry out HIV tests for people infected with VIDC-19.The most important thing for me in this training is that I can put the COVID-19 control and prevention measures into practice correctly: putting on and taking off my protective equipment correctly, washing my hands correctly, because it is by ignoring this that nurses become infected. But with training, I can do all this correctly. Furthermore, I am now able to protect myself, my family, my patients and the community and pass on what I have learned to my colleagues. Watch her testimony on video. 

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It is estimated that 10.6% of COVID-19 cases are among health workers. In Sierra Leone, Solthis has been close to health workers from 32 supported health facilities through the project Empower and Prossan to Improve HIV service provision : from community treatment distribution, procurement of the basic medical equipment, mentoring by phone, site visits, logistical support and planning to deliver treatment.
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Ruby Louisa Dandas, nurse at Lunsar community health centre
Ruby Louisa Dandas works at Lunsar community health center and she is a HIV health counsellor. She has been working with Solthis about a year now. 
When I come home from work, I now know that I am safe. I used to be worried, but now I am confident. When we heard about COVID-19, which started in Sierra Leone on 21 March, health workers were worried because we didn’t have training, we didn’t know anything about the virus. We who work in primary health centres are more exposed to infections. When patients come, we can’t know which case has just arrived. But thanks to this training, now we know how to sort and isolate (patients) and above all we know what the next step is after isolation. Before, we were worried and didn’t know where to send these people, even when sorting them. The important thing for me in this training, for us who work in the field of HIV care, is that now when a patient comes, I know the social distancing measures, I know how to protect myself, my patients, my community, but also my family.Watch her testimony on video. 

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