Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone SLEMSA
English, Krio
(GMT+00:00) Greenwich Mean Time : Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
Sierra Leonean leone
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Sierra Leone (SLEMSA) - Freetown

Mariam Karima Jaward
Diana Moigbe
Welcome to our NMO page! We are more than excited to have you consider us as one of your options! We hope you choose us.
Sierra Leone was discovered by a portugeese sailor named pedro da cintra. On a rainy day in 1462, because of the sight of the fold mountains which seemed like crouching lions and the sound of thunder above which sounded like the roar of lions, he named our nation Sierra Loa, loosely translated as Lion Mountains! It was later changed to Sierra Leone. As time sped on and the freed slaves were relocated to our shores, Sierra Leone became fondly known as the Athens of West Africa. Many travelled to our coast to benefit from our natural resources and educational system which was second to none. Unfortunately, a civil war broke out in the early 90s that lasted 10 long years ripping apart our economy, displacing thousands and marring the memory of our sweet 'salone'(Sierra Leone). We struggled to recover and just as we thought we were on our feet, the Ebola crisis broke out and hundreds more were killed or displaced!

Our climate is tropical; it rains from May to August, July and August being months with the heaviest downpour. Thunderstorms are however expected in October/November! The dry harmattan winds come in December and last till mid-February before the dry season creeps up. We have beautiful landscapes, incomparable to anywhere else in the world-from fold mountains to the natural sandy beaches and balmy seas; a chance of surfing is even possible!
Sierra Leone's health system is divided into three tiers of service delivery: peripheral health units(PHUs) with extended support provided by community health workers(CHWs); district hospitals; and referral hospitals providing secondary and tetiary patient care. This network of approximately 1,258 health facilities includes 40 hospitals, of which 23 are operated by the government with the remaining owned by private entities and non governmental and faith based organizations.

The health system is served by roughly 20,000 health workers of different cadres(this does not include CHWs or traditional birth attendants). some 9,000 of these are volunteers that is, are not on the government payroll. There are roughly 4 medical doctors per 100,000 inhabitants and out-of-pocket payments represent 62% of health care spending. Since 2010, health services are free for pregnant women and lactating mothers and children under five years. In terms of health outcomes, the life expectancy in SL is 50y, and maternal and child mortality are among the highest in the world mostly due to poor antenatal care. 

The already fragile health system of SL suffered a severe shock during the ebola virus disease(EVD) outbreak, with 296 infections among frontline health workers and 221 recorded health worker deaths. The EVD outbreak was also exacerbated by underinvestment in the country's health system and a lack of access to affordable health services. With these barriers, many vulnerable segments of the population resorted to alternative treatment methods such as traditional medicines, which also contributed to the spread of the virus.

The government of SL has identified several strategic priorities to address key institutional gaps and strengthen the health system. The presidential recovery plan launched in mid 2015, focuses on seven priority sectors, including health. Specifically the plan aims to: 1) save the lives of 600 women and 5,000 children; 2) prevent, detect, respond to epidemics and ensure zero cases of EVD; 3) ensure continuous care for EVD affected persons and survivors. To achieve this, a SL health sector recovery plan outlines five main pillars: patient and health worker safety; health work force development; essential health services; community ownership; and information and surveillance.
There is only one medical university in Sierra Leone-College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS). 

COMAHS is located at a town called Jui in the eastern rural part of SL. However because the site has not yet been fully developed, only pre-med 1&2, 1st&2nd year classes are held on campus grounds; 3rd year classes are held at the radiology department Connaught teaching hospital , 4th year and 6th year classes are also held at Connaught teaching hospital. 5th year classes are held at the Princess Christian Memorial teaching hospital about 15 mins drive from the Connaught teaching hospital.

Clinical rotations start as soon as the academic year begins which is really dependent on how fast the examination results or scores are posted on the various notice boards. An update will be posted online as soon as date can be determined. Students are encouraged to go for clinical ward rounds were they will have hands on experience with patients, allowed to assist in surgical procedures(on the benevolence of the surgical team ofcourse)!

No skimpy outfits are allowed, formal wears on Mondays through Thursdays and a choice of beautiful 'africanas' (traditional african wears or 'lappa') can be worn on Fridays.
SL is on the west coast of Africa and students coming in will require travel documents like passport, immunization cards and visas(for those travelling outside of west Africa). The airport is located 30-35 mins by sea(speed boats) which costs $90. No trains are available but buses called 'poda poda', taxis and tricycles called 'keke' are available for 1,500 leones(<$1) per stop within the city itself. A good idea would be to download a google map for Western are, SL before coming to familiarize oneself with the landscape and rough estimated time of arrival for moving from one place to another(please note that this will depend on local traffic at said time).
There are no regular social programs for incoming students; however trips can be arranged on request or popular demand! Fridays, everyone wears cultural clothes/lappa.

Freetown is a Peninsula and has quite a number of beaches ranging from white sand beaches.
The beaches are a must see and trips can be arranged on weekends!

Tacugama chimpazee sancuary

was opened in 1995 , the owners bought a sick chimpazee on the street and nursed it back to health. They also discovered that chimpazees were an endangered species in Sierra Leone and created the sanctuary. Since then the sanctuary has grown and care and rehabilitate a lot of orphaned and abandoned chimpazees.

Banana Island

Banana Island is located just off the southernmost tip of the peninsula and consists of three Islands Dublin, Ricketts and Mes-Meheux. The Island is easilly accessible by boat from the mainland. Visitors have the opportunity to enagage in activities such as Snorkelling, Fishing and bird watching.

Sierra Leoneans are generally a peaceful, friendly and accomodating bunch of people who delight in close knit communities and daytime greetings(indifference is frowned upon). So come with the sunny smiles and an accomodating predisposition!
ATMs are available for withdrawal of cash(requires visa or Master cards). Alcohol and smoking are preferably done in open areas rather than closed spaces. Unfortunately electricity is not a constant companion in SL and regular power outagees are to be expected. Connaught and the Princess Christian Maternity teaching hospitals all have backup generators for these instances