Earlier in the year when I was in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, I visited the Ola During Children’s Hospital. This is the only paediatric hospital in Sierra Leone. It is the paediatric hospital that the Welbodi Partnership is working with. The Welbodi Partnership is the charity I am raising money for by cycling to Cape Town.

'Pikin' meaning Children in Krio, the language of Freetown
'Pikin' meaning Children in Krio, the language of Freetown

It was fascinating to see the hard work being undertaken by the dedicated hospital staff and Welbodi volunteers. It was overwhelming hearing the challenges the hospital faces. It was encouraging to see the drive and commitment of the staff in the face of these challenges.

Yesterday Sierra Leone celebrated 50 years of independence. Yesterday the president launched a free healthcare initiative for pregnant and breast-feeding women and children under five. Yesterday a long queue of mothers and babies had formed of outside the Ola During Children’s Hospital.

Today begins the logistical challenge of ensuring that the much-needed drugs are re-supplied.

The provision of free healthcare is a massive undertaking. No doubt there will be setbacks and challenges along the way. But I have no doubt that the Welbodi team and hospital staff will meet and overcome this latest challenge. Free healthcare being provided to this much needed sector of Sierra Leonean society means the hard work will be worth it.

I wish them the best of luck.

If you would like to to sponsor me and help the Welbodi Partnership, please visit my Justgiving page: www.justgiving.com/takeonafrica

Dr Emily Spry is volunteering with Welbodi and has written an article about the initiative on the British Medical Journal blog.

You can read more about the work of the Welbodi Partnership here:  www.welbodipartnership.org