Photo – Health workers at Connaught Hospital (KGHP)

Disaster in Freetown, Sierra Leone

As you will know KCHNL is working in partnership with King’s Global Health Partnerships to support a nurse volunteer to work at the Connaught Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Rachel is the volunteer nurse educator, and she has been in Sierra Leone for six months creating a continuing education framework to build the nurses knowledge and skills in the clinical setting. This education is based loosely around the ABCDE framework which is used in UK NHS Trusts. This education programme had been progressing well and has been extremely well received by the nurses at The Connaught hospital.

Sadly, on the night of 5th-6th November, a terrible tragedy occurred when there was an accident involving a fuel tanker. The tanker was damaged and local people rushed to collect fuel from the leaking tanker which subsequently exploded. Over 100 people died at the scene and many more were severely and critically injured. Currently 73 patients are being treated in 4 hospitals in Freetown for severe and life-changing burns. The team at the Connaught have been working flat out since the appalling accident last Friday and King’s Global Health Partnerships are planning to coordinate a team of volunteers who are Burns Specialists from the UK and who will fly out to support the Connaught Hospital staff.

A disaster support fund has been set up to provide assistance. The plan includes actions in the short and medium term to focus on disability limitation for the burn-injured patients. This will include an Intensive training programme provided by a small multi-disciplinary team of Burns specialists from UK NHS Trusts (including King’s College Hospital NHS Trust). Secondly it aims to provide 3-6 months’ supply of burns consumables (such as dressing, IV fluids) and supplies to prevent secondary infection (such as detergent, buckets and soap). King’s College Hospital Nurses League (Benevolent fund) have pledged to give £2,000 which will provide for some of these consumables and equipment.

In the longer term the accident has highlighted the need to develop a specialist burns unit in Freetown with long term training, mentorship and systems support to ensure quality improvement. This report is a precis from the link below which gives more detailed information and also provides the option to access the JustGiving page should any KCHNL members wish to make a personal donation.