Health systems strengthening in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s maternal, infant and children under five mortality rates are amongst the highest in the world. More than a quarter of children under five are affected by stunting. Despite the country’s efforts to improve health in recent years, communicable diseases and other preventable causes continue to result in devastating health outcomes. In the past decade, Sierra Leone’s health system faced two enormous crises, in the form of the world’s largest Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014-2016, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The risk for future epidemics and other public health crises remains high. Collaboration across all levels of Sierra Leone’s health system – from community health workers (CHWs) to Ministry of Health and Sanitation officials to local and international development actors – is vital to transform health care in the country.
For nearly 20 years, Corus organization IMA World Health has built and supported integrated, holistic and sustainable health systems that increase access to quality health care in low-income countries, like Sierra Leone. IMA World Health’s approach follows the World Health Organization’s six building blocks of health systems strengthening (HSS), and within each block, IMA World Health prioritizes strengthening local capacities.
For example, IMA World Health has collaborated with Africa Christian Health Associations Platform (ACHAP) since its official incorporation in 2012, supporting their secretariat and increasing the technical capacities of their member organizations, Christian Health Associations (CHAs). Over IMA’s decade of partnership with ACHAP, the regional coordinating body has grown to encompass 40 national level faith-based networks providing health services in 32 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. IMA World Health now partners with ACHAP to improve maternal and child health globally through USAID’s MOMENTUM Integrated Health Resilience and to strengthen the local capacity of CHAs in Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe to advance COVID-19 vaccine demand and delivery through the Promoting COVID-19 Vaccine Equity through Faith-Based Networks in Africa (COV-FaB) project.