Introduction

Palliative Care in Sierra Leone (PCSL) is a fundraising UK based charity supporting both patient care and health professional education. The charity changed its name in 2021 from UK Friends of the Shepherd’s Hospice to PCSL in order to broaden access to palliative care in Sierra Leone. The aim of the charity is to fund the provision of sustainable palliative care in a country which has long struggled with some of the world’s worst health outcomes. The Government of Sierra Leone introduced Free Healthcare for pregnant and lactating mothers and children under five. Extreme poverty prevents most families from accessing health care.

At present the charity supports 2 projects:

  1. The Shepherd’s Hospice (TSH), a Non-Governmental Organisation in MacDonald Village, near Waterloo. The Shepherd’s Hospice was established in 1994 in Allen Town and moved to its current peaceful, rural site, as a purpose-built facility with inpatient, outpatient and home-based care services in 2016. At TSH the funds are used for health professional salaries and to support inpatient and outpatient care, as well as some medication. Gabriel Madiye is the Director of TSH.
  2. The Palliative Care Unit (PCU) at Connaught Hospital, Freetown. Connaught Hospital is the principal adult referral hospital in Sierra Leone. Connaught Hospital was opened in 1912 by the Duke of Connaught, Prince Arthur. President Kabbah re-opened the hospital on May 5, 2006, alongside the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital. This unit also provides care at Ola During Children’s Hospital. At the PCU, funds are used for health professional salaries and health professional development, both in Freetown and throughout other areas of Sierra Leone. The PCU is used by health professionals from all departments, since its inception it has received over 500 referrals. Dr. Mary Bunn leads the PCU.
palliative care teaching
Palliative Care Team Teaching at The Connaught Hospital
Patient examination
Patient examination at TSH

The introduction of palliative care is challenging in Sierra Leone as is demonstrated in some of the case studies in Inspiring Stories.

In the past PCSL has also funded some infrastructure projects, such as funding for a rainwater collection and storage facility at TSH in MacDonald Village as a mains water supply was unavailable.

Monitoring visits are carried out to oversee use of funds and development of the work of TSH and PCU. Quarterly reports from TSH and PCU inform the trustees of the use of the funds raised.

Read more about how UKFTSH/PCSL started.

Read Mark Doyle’s (BBC International Development Correspondent) report about health care in Sierra Leone, including the work of The Shepherd’s Hospice. (3 Feb 2011)