On April 23, 2021, Build Health International and Partners in Health broke ground on the Maternal Center of Excellence in Koidu, Sierra Leone, beginning the construction process for the state-of-the-art teaching hospital. Read about it here.
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The morning of April 23 marked a turning point for women and their families in Kono District, Sierra Leone, as Partners In Health (PIH) and Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health & Sanitation officially broke ground on the Maternal Center of Excellence (MCOE).
A state-of-the-art teaching hospital dedicated to women and children’s health, the MCOE now enters its construction phase on the grounds of PIH-supported Koidu Government Hospital, where PIH and the Sierra Leonean government have focused their efforts on radically reducing maternal, child, and neonatal mortality in Kono and in the country at large.
Sierra Leone is one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth: Women face a 1 in 20 lifetime risk of dying in pregnancy or childbirth—compared to a 1 in 3,800 chance in the United States.
The MCOE will address this injustice by providing clinicians the fully equipped spaces they need to save patients’ lives—including an oxygen plant, blood bank, intensive care unit, neonatal intensive care unit, surgical suite, outpatient clinic, and pharmacies. Crucially, the facility will contain 163 beds, dramatically expanding Koidu Government Hospital’s current 48-bed maternity ward and special care baby unit, which daily run out of adequate space for all the women and prematurely-born infants in need of care.
What’s more, the facility will be a response to the dire shortage of trained clinicians in Sierra Leone, where there is currently no option to specialize in such areas as obstetrics, gynecology, neonatology, or pediatrics. Specialized medical training programs—and infrastructure like simulation labs, lecture halls, and student housing—will provide never-before-available clinical education opportunities to the next generation of doctors, nurses, midwives, and other equity-minded health care workers.