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Sierra Leone: CHAMPS Programme and Ministry of Health train newly established Government child health unit on management of childhood illnesses /

At a staggering 11.1%, Sierra Leone’s child mortality is one of the highest in the world. To tackle this, the Government of Sierra Leone created a stand-alone Child Health Programme in October last year, to provide more visibility and autonomy for child health activities. Previously, child health services were delivered as part of the Government’s Reproductive, Maternal, Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition programme.

The new programme consists of a national Programme Manager and one health focal person per district, of which Sierra Leone has 16, and clinicians assigned to community health posts which are in charge of healthcare delivery in communities – the first point of contact for sick children.

To build the capacity of these newly assigned staff, the two-day training in Bo city, Bo District, equipped over 60 participants with skills in early detection of childhood illnesses, including child malnutrition, management of severe cases of anaemia, administration of oxygen machines and nasogastric feeding, proper documentation and preservation of health records, acute case referral procedures and child death audit steps.

Participants are expected to use their newly gained skills to improve child and maternal healthcare service delivery in healthcare facilities nationwide, helping reduce infant mortality and stillbirth in the country.

Facilitators included Mabinty Tarawally, National Child Health Focal Point, Alice B.Y. Thornton, Senior Community Health Officer and Edwin Jibao Jnr. and Sahr Philip Sam, two Monitoring and Evaluation Officers from the National Ministry of Health and CHAMPS staff facilitators.

This training forms part of CHAMPS-SL long-standing approach to address under-five child mortality through health sector strengthening initiatives in the country.



Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through Emory University, CHAMPS is jointly implemented by Crown Agents, World Hope International and FOCUS1000. Since 2017, CHAMPS has been instrumental in using mortality surveillance data to reduce cases of under-five child mortality and stillbirths. The CHAMPS Network operates in South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Ethiopia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Pakistan.