“Landing in the capital city Freetown, was somewhat of a home coming for me having grown up in Africa. The familiar heat, humidity, a wave of smells of dusty and smoky wood. The hustle and bustle as crowds of people offer to carry your bags to a taxi for a small tip.
“Our first venue was three hours east of Freetown at Makeni. The Holy Spirit Hospital (HSH) was established by Dr Patrick Turay. Despite many atrocities in the last decade such as Ebola it has continued to develop and expand with the help of the Italian Diocese and sheer determination. The Holy Spirit Hospital now has 70 beds, an outpatients department, x-ray, a pharmacy and two operating theatres. Sadly, the physiotherapy department was recently destroyed by fire but there is however a new development with plans for physiotherapy, pathology labs and a burns unit.
“The second hospital we visited was an old rural leprosy hospital called Masanga, a 45-minute drive from Makeni. It is a beautiful drive through green tropical woodland, villages and cropland (mainly potatoes). It is now the training centre for the country’s surgical community health officers. They deliver much of the emergency surgical cover in a country lacking in medically trained surgeons. I was pleased to discover that a new School for Physiotherapy nearby in Tonkolili has recently opened. The BSc programme has been developed in support with national and international stakeholders and currently has its first cohort of 17 students in their first year. This will greatly improve the number of qualified physiotherapists of which there are currently only seven in the whole country.