Medical Assistance Sierra Leone
Medical Assistance Sierra Leone was established in 2003 with the aim of supporting access to health care and urgent medical treatment for communities and individuals in Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone is the poorest country in the world (UNDP 2004), with high infant mortality and globally the worst maternal mortality rates. Sierra Leone's health infrastructure clearly requires support at all levels. However there are specific strategic areas where an input of resources can be expected to begin to save lives, improve health and well-being and better enable individuals to meet the vast development challenges facing their families and communities. MASL focuses on three areas of work longterm:
Reducing maternal mortality. About 2% of women die in childbirth, largely due to lack of services to manage emergency obstetric care, harmful traditional practices, inadequately trained staff, a weak referral system and high hospital-patient costs.
Reducing child mortality. A study by the government and UNICEF revealed that 1 out of 4 children die before their fifth birthday. Children are dying from easily treatable illnesses like malaria, which accounts for up to 65% of such deaths, diarrohea, measles and complications associated with malnutrition. Low cost, well-targeted interventions can save lives.
Facilitating access to treatment for those with rare and specialist medical conditions, who face no prospect of getting treatment in Sierra Leone. Currently this includes support to spinal surgery patients, developing the first epilepsy service in Sierra Leone with UK consultants and plastic surgery support to burns patients.
MASL works with others to raise awareness of the key health and development issues facing communities in Sierra Leone - and to generate interest and support in meeting the health needs of the country. We have virtually no UK overheads and employ one Coordinator in Sierra Leone, who liaises with and supports local partners and carries out a monitoring and evaluation function.