Even before Ebola hit Sierra Leone, the country had some of the world’s poorest health outcomes, especially in the area of maternal and child health. Ebola took a major toll on the health system—not only did more than 200 health workers die during the outbreak, but people stopped coming to health clinics.
JSI's Advancing Partners & Communities project in Sierra Leone supports the Ministry of Health and Sanitation’s (MOHS) 2015-2020 post-Ebola Health Sector Recovery Plan (HSRP) with a goal to strengthen critical community-based health services, with emphasis on reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH).
- Strengthen the policy environment to increase access to basic health services at peripheral health units (PHUs) and in communities;
- Increase the capacity and effectiveness of the health workforce and community platforms to provide quality RMNCH services, including infection prevention and control (IPC); and
- Improve the physical conditions of health posts to enhance safety and quality of basic health services through better compliance with water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) guidelines.
The project also worked to increase demand for services by strengthening local facility management committees, which in turn are engaging people in their communities to change their health-seeking behaviors.
In just 18 months, through May 2017, JSI's Advancing Partners & Communities project, funded by USAID, revitalized 305 peripheral health units in five districts: Port Loko, Bombali, Tonkolili, and Western Areas (Urban and Rural).
The project improved water and sanitation, installed solar power systems, and trained more than 900 health professionals on RMNCH; and on IPC practices. Further, almost 1,500 community health workers (CHWs) were trained on the new in-service training manual and job aids that follow the revised CHW 2016-2020 policy launched in February 2017, also with the project’s support.
The project also helped rebuild trust between the most affected communities and their health facilities by helping re-activate 214 facility management committees, which are led jointly by community members and health workers.
In Sierra Leone, JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. (JSI) is implementing the project in partnership with FHI360, Action Against Hunger, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), GOAL, International Medical Corps (IMC), and Save the Children.
This project has improved health services for more than 2 million people in Sierra Leone. Furthermore, by strengthening the peripheral health system and building local capacity, the Sierra Leone government will be ready for the next public health outbreak.