Head Office

4th & 5th floors Youyi Building Freetown, Sierra Leone

Have Any Question

+232 76 460 440

Send Your Mail


MoHS Swiftly Responds to Bo Stadium Accident

By Austin Demby, PhD

Accidents do occur throughout the world and it’s how a nation responds to the crisis that determines what the nation is made of. Recent crises such as the Halloween incident in South Korea is a vivid reminder. With the accident at the Bo mini stadium that could have been a very serious incident, turned out to be one of the shining stars of Sierra Leone’s capability and capacity to manage incidents. All hands were on-deck, including HE himself, to manage the chaotic scenes that ensued. The President’s ambulance, my official vehicle and numerous private and commercial vehicles, including Okadas on the scene, were used to ferry the children to the hospital. With my vehicle deployed to take children to the hospital, I jumped on a passing vehicle full of children to make my way to the hospital to coordinate the medical response.

At the hospital, literally, tens of thousands of concerned parents and onlookers descended on the hospital looking for their children. As you can imagine, some of these parents were inconsolable as they wanted to see their children and no amount of cajoling or persuasion was enough. Our biggest initial challenge was crowd control until the security forces helped us manage the crowds with internal and external cordons. Every child that arrived at the hospital was seen by a medical staff and triaged into critical, serious, or minor requiring ambulatory care. Great to see Government Ministers actively engaged in patient care, crowd control, even pharmacy services. This was managed so well that there was NO Fatality, contrary to the rumours that were flying around in the local media and the incessant social media. Children who were discharged came back the next day to have their wounds filled, their prescription of analgesics and other medications as required.

To counter the rumours and the ensuing near public panic in Bo Town, I took an Okada (something I had never done before) and rushed to the local SLBC station with 3 key messages;: 1() No Child had Died, (2) there was only a Minor Railing Damage that resulted to some children falling and sustaining cuts and bruises,  and (3) Children were getting the best medical care at the Bo Government Hospital.

From a health standpoint, this was a tremendous success, underscoring our progress towards a robust healthcare system that is capable of responding to shocks to the system. Important success factors included:

  • 10 new clinical doctors who just graduated from medical school were deployed to the Bo Government Hospital in December. This is a major increase from only 2 clinicians before.
  • A new oxygen factory on the hospital grounds, capable of filling fifteen 50L canisters a day was fully functional, and one of my reasons for being in Bo was to formally commission it, but it was already in service and proved very helpful.
  • Also, we have changed the model of pharmacy services by working on a Public Private Partnership Model that brings private sector providers into public hospitals, complementing our Free Health Care services for the vulnerable. A combination of products from the private pharmacy and free healthcare met the surge needs of emergency supplies. There was no cost to patients. Billing from the private pharmacy to the MOHS would be reconciled later. Our medical stores provided several truckloads of supplies yesterday to replenish stocks.

We also received staff and materiel reinforcements from neighbouring Kenema Government Hospital and MSF who sent over 15 emergency staff to support their counterparts. Medical Staff from Bombali, Moyamba, and Pujehun who were in Bo for training joined their counterparts.

Importantly, we saw what we have been preaching for the past two years: focused, selfless, patient-centred-care on full display as all of the medical staff gave their best to manage the cases. Most of them worked 48 hours nonstop. In fact, two nurses collapsed and had to be resuscitated. Mind you, some of the staff had children who were patients themselves.

It was therefore so pleasing that HE the President and the First Lady visited and consoled the sick children who were still in hospital and they spent time speaking to and thanking all the medical staff for their service to their nation. The staff were very very pleased and honoured.

My message to all is that the success we saw on display in Bo was not by accident but a culmination of Preparedness and Response to medical emergencies. We will plan an after-action review to see what lessons were learnt and what we can do better in future. Again, all I could say is thanks to HE, thanks to the First Lady, and thanks to Team Sierra Leone  for effectively managing this crisis. Let’s continue to pray for the three kids who were serious enough to be referred to Connaught!

Tags :
Share This :

Recent Posts

Have Any Question?