Improving Dialysis Treatment in Sierra Leone

Envision being in need of medical treatment but not having access to needed medical care or the necessary equipment. Chronic kidney disease is at least 3-4 times more frequent in Africa than in developed countries[1] which means dialysis treatment and counselling is needed for these patients. The fact that this kind of treatment is not available in many parts of the world and particularly in Africa is a sad reality. This is different in Sierra Leone since the Shifaa Dialysis Center opened their doors for all in need.

The Shifaa Dialysis Centre’s story started with family Bah. Their father suffers from kidney failure and since there previously was no hospital in Sierra Leone that offers dialysis treatment, the family had to travel to the neighbouring country Guinea twice I week in order for their father to get treatment. This is when the family decided to open a five-bed private dialysis clinic in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Although the clinic was a great start, different obstacles continued to make the everyday treatment difficult for both the patients and the nurses working there.

Family Bah lives on the top floor, the patients are treated on the ground floor and on the first floor is where the dialysis water treatment take place.  An extension was installed to a separate room which is now the VIP treatment room, available for two patients.

Shifaa Dialysis Center provide Hemodialysis, Hemofiltration and Peritoneal Dialysis. In order for them to do this, the necessary equipment was needed. In November 2019 a technician travelled to Freetown in Sierra Leone to install an extension on the ring line, to give water access to the new VIP treatment room. The original installation of the dialysis unit was done in February 2019. This kind of installation takes about 4-5 days complete with the final signing off and handover to the client in Shifaa Dialysis Center.

A family member of the Bah’s is also an engineer and manages the clinic. He and another engineer received their training in Germany in order to work on the dialysis machines. The Shifaa Dialysis Center is a very unique clinic in Sierra Leone since it’s the only dialysis clinic in the country. For this reason, the government send many of their patient to this clinic for dialysis treatment. Bad infrastructure though, still makes it difficult for patients to travel to the unit and sometimes it’s only possible for patients to come to Freetown twice a week for treatment.

It was an honour for Fürst Solutions GmbH to work and help to improve the medical equipment at the Shifaa Dialysis Center and we are looking forward to see what the future developments hold for them.

[1] Saraladevi.Naicker, End-stage renal disease in sub-Saharan Africa, Division of Nephrology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

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