Ultrasound machines donated to support launch of new hospital in Sierra Leone – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Nyayia Maternal & Child Hospital is a non-profit-making, community-based hospital project that will cater for the health care needs of women from preconception through to the postnatal period.

It was set up to tackle the unmet rural community need within the Kenema district of the west African country, where maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world, with one in eight women dying during pregnancy or childbirth.

Chris Murray, Northumbria Healthcare’s site lead sonographer for North Tyneside, the Northumbria and Hexham hospitals, said: “The three machines that we are donating can be used for a range of purposes such as abdomen scanning, pelvic examinations, vascular assessments and musculoskeletal scanning. They are also very versatile in terms of offering the user a number of options when they are seeking a diagnosis for a patient.

“They have supported a large number of patients in Northumberland and North Tyneside, but remain in a great condition and will provide a much-needed boost to the Nyayia hospital, hopefully supporting high-quality care there for years to come.”

The Nyayia hospital project has been driven by Magdalene Lebbie-Banya, who said: “These ultrasound machines will really help us with diagnostics and therefore contribute to reducing maternal mortality and morbidity, which are among the highest in the world in Sierra Leone.”

The donation was arranged through the charity First Things Foundation, which sends people overseas for two years to live among the locals and meet people who have a vision for how they can generate momentum for their own community.

They don’t arrive with their own plans for what is needed, but seek support from the West for projects which are locally led and driven.

Jacob Marsnik, from the charity, said: “I was introduced to Magdalene about a year ago by a local mutual friend, who told me that there was a woman building a hospital in Kenema, a city near where we work in Sierra Leone, so I went to go and visit.

“Over time, as we got to know each other better, it seemed like the best way for us to help was to look for medical professionals from abroad who would like to come and work at the hospital and also to try and locate equipment, which led to us linking in with Northumbria Healthcare.”

The trust’s Bright charity has also supported a ground-breaking project which sees staff working in partnership with Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in northern Tanzania since 1999.

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