Free Surgical Interventions

Diaspora Medical Mission 2018

In light of the significant deficits in human resource capacities and the limited availability of skilled healthcare staff among the doctors, nurses and public health practitioners, diaspora member, Josephine Garnem in partnership with the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation, MedGlobal, ASCOVIME (Association of skills for a better life), The Michael & Mauritia Patcha Foundation, Mercy Hospital, and the School of Community Health Sciences, Njala University (NU) in Bo, Sierra Leone embarked on a mission called The Diaspora Surgical and Training Network - The Brain Gain Initiative.

The goal of the mission is to improve access and delivery of quality medical care for vulnerable populations in Sierra Leone, providing medical and surgical interventions, maternal and child health services, chronic disease screening and treatment, infection prevention and control and hygiene training, and nutrition education services.

The project aimed to engage medical specialists and master trainers to provide on the job training to local healthcare professionals, promote volunteerism, and lay the foundation for academic partnerships between health institutions in the USA, Sierra Leone and Cameroon. In this way, strengthening the Africa to Africa, Africa to USA/Europe exchange.

The mission also sought to address the skills gap through a myriad of interventions including needs analysis assessment, practitioner training, continuing medical education/continuing professional development (CME/CPD), dissemination of best practices, efficiency of interventions and enhancement of health promotion/social marketing/education skills.

Triage, Primary Care, and Surgical Sites

Based on the locations, security and recommendations from the District Medical Officer, our local partner organization, and local doctors who did pre-assessments, the following sites were identified and secured for:

Triage and Primary Health Care: Bo Government Hospital, Mercy Hospital, Pujehun Government Hospital

Surgical interventions: Bo Government Hospital, Mercy Hospital, Pujehun Government Hospital

Training: Njala University Kowama Campus, Bo, Bo Government Hospital’s main Theatre.

Diaspora Medical Mission 2016

The public health needs and disparities in healthcare services in Sierra Leone are not issues that only one sector or group of goodwill ambassadors would tackle and win. However, quality of services and capacity building must be at the forefront of any mission that aspires to bridge the gaps and improve the lives of Sierra Leoneans.

The diaspora therefore can play an important and crucial role in bringing in public private partnerships, institutional and other collaborative groups to the fore in order to contribute to the larger effort of combating this critical public health problem. Most important is to do so in partnership with the local and national government of Sierra Leone.

In light of the significant deficits in human resource capacities and the limited availability of skilled healthcare staff among the doctors, nurses and public health practitioners, members of the Khalil Garnem Foundation designed and led a mission called The Diaspora Surgical and Training Network - The Brain Gain Initiative.

The foundation partnered with ASCOVIME, the Ministry of Health, Sierra Leone, the Mahmoud Idriss Foundation, ASCOVIME (Association of Skills for a Better Life), The Michael & Mauritia Patcha Foundation, Team Rubicon, USA, Pauper's Kitchen Clinic, GiLa Hospital, Bo and the School of Community Health Sciences, and Njala University (Bo).

Intermediate and long-term outcomes of this project include improved healthcare delivery, system development, and sustainability for those afflicted by injury, illness, and disaster, as future development programs reach the target population of healthcare providers, politicians, and policy makers.


Project Assessment

Only a rudimentary emergency response system exists in Sierra Leone. Communities suffer from endemic infectious disease, increasing cardiovascular illness, traumatic injury, and the effects of large-scale emergency incidents.

Having a comprehensive system, can reduce morbidity and mortality by treating, preventing, and reducing incidence and prevalence.

The purpose of this project was to assess the current system to determine potential future needs, begin liaising for such future development, provide immediate training to current providers, and additionally assist in the delivery of care at clinics where the needs of the population in such areas continue to be dramatic.


Triage, primary care and surgical interventions were provided to not only members of the greater Bo District but also to people who traveled from Freetown, Jui, Makeni, Pujehun, Kono, Kenema and other areas. At the Bo Government Hospital patients were registered, surgical procedures were performed and postoperative hospital care was delivered.

The operations were performed by Dr. Georges Bwelle, Visceral surgeon, Dr. Ekani Boukar Mahamat Orthopedic and general surgeon, Dr. Abu Biaboko Minah, MD, MPH, SQS and their international and local surgical support team.

A second theatre, used for maternity cases was mostly used to perform caesarian sections by Dr. Hawanatu Bettina Jah. Obstetrics and Gynaecology and her theatre support team.



The triage locations proved strategic and logistically ideal because they reduced the pressure from the main hospital whose triage center was too close to the entrance of the main surgical theatre which was already faced with a great challenge of managing people who crowded the entrance of the surgical theatre.

The locations were also ideal as the team was able to serve very diverse communities – saving those who only needed basic care or consultations from making the trip to the main Government hospital, therein allowing only those in need of surgical interventions or specialized care to make the extra trip to the main hospital.

Local Clinics Non-Profit Partners

Donated Medical Supplies and Equipment

Hilfe Direkt-Sierra Leone

Established in 1994 and was registered in 2006 with the Ministry of Development and Economic Planning as a National Non-Governmental Organization (NNGO) after previously having the status of an International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO). Their country headquarters is located in Bo City, Southern Sierra Leone.

The organization supports Sierra Leone government by providing general healthcare services, pre-primary education, micro-credit and small scale agricultural activities, shelter and part-scholarships, as-well-as internship and training of nursing staff. On November 14, 2011 the new “Gila’s Children and Community Hospital” was opened by “Hilfe Direkt” with many donors’ support, mainly from Oldenburg, Germany.

Today the hospital has 11 highly motivated and qualified nurses with 4 nurses on staff dedicated to women as well as children under five years of age. Every year around 6-8 German visiting doctors volunteer in the hospital to maintain the good quality of medical services in the hospital. The hospital has 15 outreach communities.

Pauper’s Kitchen and Clinic

Founded in 1987 by Rtd. Dr. Sheik-Umarr Mikailu Jah and his wife Mrs. Betti Elisabeth Beckmann-Jah and located in the outskirts of Bo, Paupers' Kitchen and Clinic targets and serves the most underserved population in Bo.

On any regular day, basic primary care clinical services are provided by a highly skilled and experienced nurse with warm meals to those who come hungry. The clinic, though small, has a very large compound with a palaver hut that was ideal for waiting crowds. The main building comprises of a waiting room and four consultation rooms, one of which served ideally as a pharmacy for this location during the mission.