Sierra Leone has a great need for primary medical care. It is one of the poorest countries in the world and its people continue to suffer from numerous, preventable health issues. Poor infrastructure combined with a lack of resources and trained medical professionals severely limits access to healthcare. The 2014 Ebola epidemic further weakened the healthcare system and devastated families and communities.
Adama Martha Memorial Community Health Center
Jericho Road’s Adama Martha Memorial Community Health Center (AMMCHC) seeks to improve healthcare access and services to the people of Kono District, regardless of their economic, religious, or social standing.
AMMCHC is Jericho Road’s first and oldest global clinic. We opened our doors in February 2015, in the midst of the worst Ebola outbreak the world had ever seen. We had the option to postpone clinic opening indefinitely, until after the outbreak was eradicated. However, as a medical clinic, we felt that increased access to healthcare was imperative during this time, and had staff willing to serve and sacrifice. Kono is a remote, rural, and impoverished district in Sierra Leone. Lack of clean water and very limited medical services have resulted in worse health outcomes than in the country as a whole.
We have grown and expanded consistently over the years and currently sees over 1500 patients a month.
AMMCHC services include:
- Inpatient and outpatient services, including adult, maternity and pediatric wards
- Screening, reception, and triage area
- Surgical suite (C-sections, hernia repairs, appendectomies, etc.)
- Birthing suite
- Vaccine program
- HIV Testing & Treatment program
- Sickle Cell clinic for youth ages 0-21 years old, in conjunction with the Sickle Cell research of Dr. Cheedy JaJa of the University of Southern Florida
- Large working farm to address food insecurity and micro finance opportunities
- Feeding program for malnourished children
- Administration building that includes a conference hall
- Guest House
- AMMCHC also conducts medical outreach and community health training in remote villages. Health training promotes healthy living, gives preventive services, and educates on minimizing the spread of infectious diseases.
We are currently working towards becoming a Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care Center (CEmOC).
History of AMMCHC
Phebian Abdulai was born in Sierra Leone, the daughter of a Kono District midwife. Inspired by her mother’s hard work and compassionate care, Phebian enrolled at the Freetown National School of Nursing. Her path changed drastically, however, when a decade-long civil war erupted in Sierra Leone in 1991. Phebian and her family fled to the neighboring country of Gambia, where they lived in a refugee camp. She and her family were able to safely resettle in Buffalo in 2001.
First, as a patient of Dr. Myron Glick at Jericho Road Community Health Center, and then as a nurse in our clinic for many years, Phebian gradually sensed God calling her back to Sierra Leone to provide quality healthcare for her people. The war had decimated her already under-resourced nation, and she knew the growing healthcare needs were profound.
With Jericho Road by her side, Phebian went back to Sierra Leone to build her dream. Construction on our Adama Martha Memorial Community Health Center (named in memory of Phebian’s mother and grandmother) started in Koidu, Kono District in 2014.
We were able to open our doors to patients with “Mamma Phebian” at the helm in the midst of the Ebola crisis in February 2015.
A New Clinic is Born, during the Ebola Crisis
In December 2009, a team of Jericho Road healthcare providers led by Sierra Leone native Phebian Abdulai, traveled to Kono District, Sierra Leone to begin laying the groundwork for our first global outreach clinic. Our team visited existing healthcare facilities, identified gaps, and explored opportunities for long-term engagement and sustainability. Along the way, we engaged many stakeholders to start building support for our vision and turn it into reality.
In the years that followed, Jericho Road continued sending medical teams to learn about Sierra Leone’s healthcare landscape and build broad-based support. We also began conducting outreach to remote villages in Kono District to bring healthcare to people who lacked access to medical services. We identified a piece of land in the town of Koidu and entered into an agreement with the government of Sierra Leone in June 2011.
Construction began and each brick was made by hand using materials from the land Jericho Road leased and wood came from the nearby forest. More than 60 local workers contributed to the effort, doing all the work in the absence of heavy machinery.
In December 2013, the Ebola epidemic erupted in a forested area in the West African country of Guinea, near the borders of Liberia and Sierra Leone. Two years later, nearly 29,000 cases were documented worldwide and over 11,000 people had died. Approximately 4,000 victims lost their lives in Sierra Leone.
Our Adama Martha Memorial Community Health Center opened its doors in February 2015, in the midst of this outbreak. Our clinic established a separate screening and triage area to isolate people who might have been suffering from the disease and implemented stringent protocols to protect healthcare workers and other patients. Fortunately, our clinic did not encounter any patients who had contracted the disease.
Jericho Road remained committed to helping people rebuild their communities and their confidence in primary healthcare in the wake of this terrible epidemic. During that time, we worked closely with many on the ground partners to assist individuals and families isolated in quarantine by bringing them fresh water, food, and supplies. Those efforts then shifted to assisting Ebola orphans and widows in numerous ways.
Ebola Then & Now
In December 2013, the Ebola epidemic erupted in a forested area in the West African country of Guinea, near the border with Liberia and Sierra Leone. Two years later, nearly 29,000 cases were documented worldwide and over 11,000 people had died. Approximately 4,000 victims lost their lives in Sierra Leone.
Our Adama Martha Memorial Community Health Center opened its doors in the midst of this outbreak. Our clinic established a separate screening and triage area to isolate people who might have been suffering from the disease and implemented stringent protocols to protect healthcare workers and other patients. Fortunately, our clinic did not encounter any patients who had contracted the disease.
The World Health Organization declared Sierra Leone free of Ebola in November 2015. Our dedicated staff remain vigilant in case of future outbreaks and continuously educate Sierra Leoneans on infectious disease protocols.
Jericho Road is committed to helping people rebuild their communities and their confidence in primary healthcare in the wake of this terrible epidemic. During that time, we worked closely with the Sierra Leone Alliance to assist individuals and families isolated in quarantine by bringing them fresh water, food, and supplies. These efforts are now focused on assisting Ebola orphans in numerous ways.
Construction began in 2014. Each brick was made by hand using materials from the land Jericho Road leased and wood came from the nearby forest. More than 60 local workers contributed to the effort, doing all the work in the absence of heavy machinery. Watch a brief documentary on the Birth of a Clinic here.
The Adama Martha Memorial Community Health Center (AMMCHC) opened in February 2015, in the midst of the worst Ebola outbreak the world had ever seen.
If you are interested in learning more about the 2014-2016 West African Ebola outbreak or Ebola in general, these links are a good place to start.
Orfonthy Community Health Center
Orfonthy Community Health Center (OCHC) is a primary care medical center that serves the Village of Rokassa and wider Port Loko District in northwestern Sierra Leone. Many of OCHC’s patients are students at the three schools in Rokassa that are operated by our partner organization EduNations. As with all our global clinics, OCHC seeks to improve healthcare access and services to the people of Port Loko District, regardless of their economic, religious, or social standing.
OCHC offers outpatient services for both acute and chronic illnesses in a facility that includes two consult rooms and a day treatment room, a screening, reception, triage area, prenatal area, a laboratory, a pharmacy, vaccine program, male and female surgical wards, a birthing suite, and an operating room.
OCHC also offers some inpatient services, including vaginal deliveries and overnight observation and treatment when necessary. The clinic provides limited elective surgical services, mainly hernia repairs. The staff also participate in community outreach to the surrounding villages providing support to patients suffering from non-communicable chronic diseases.
History of OCHC
The story of Orfonthy Community Health Center starts with a partnership with EduNations, a US-based NGO that provides education in rural areas of Sierra Leone. In 2004, EduNations began building and operating schools, including three in Rokassa. Over time, the staff at EduNations noticed that many students were frequently missing from school due to preventable health issues. Lack of accessible and quality healthcare was getting in the way of education.
To combat this, Dean Weaver, founding board member for EduNations, approached Jericho Road about staffing a clinic in Rokassa. After years of planning, fundraising, and prayer, Orfonthy Community Health Center was opened in October 2017, in a building provided by EduNations and staffed by Jericho Road.
Jericho Road Health Facility, Komao
Our clinic in Kumaro first opened its doors in June 2020. Located in the remote mining village of Kumaro in Sierra Leone’s Kono District, this health center is Jericho Road’s newest clinic in Sierra Leone. It is located about an hour drive from our original site, AMMCHC in Koidu. When we first got to Kumaro, there was no access to clean water, no sanitation, no latrines and the individuals and families living in this mining village were riddled with preventable illness and infection.
Currently, we are offering both outpatient primary care, as well as limited inpatient care. We have recently built a surgical ward. Being a mining village, there are a lot of traumatic injuries and hernias, so a surgical suite was essential.
The facility has a pharmacy, three-bed male ward, a three-bed female ward, and a three-bed maternity ward. Vaginal deliveries have begun, and we have started to provide C-sections (and other surgeries) in the new surgical ward.
History of JRHFK
Kumaro is a gold mining village of more than 5,000 people. In the years leading up to the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the gold mine was owned and operated by Boart Longyear, a U.S. based company headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. When the outbreak began, they abandoned the mining operation and never returned. Eventually, they sold the mine, which still operates today by a Chinese owned company, Wongor Investment and Mining Corporation. The majority of Kumaro villagers work in this mine.
In 2017 and 2018, Jericho Road’s Adama Martha Memorial Community Health Center began treating a number of sick children who were brought into the clinic from Kumaro. Often, these children were so ill there was little we could do to help them. In 2018, AMMCHC started providing a mobile medical clinic to Kumaro once a month; however, the monthly clinic was not enough to meet the healthcare needs of this community, which are exacerbated by lack of access to clean water and basic sanitation.
When the U.S. company left Kumaro, they left behind a compound of buildings that the community has gifted to Jericho Road. The largest building was renovated into our main clinic facility. Jericho Road also worked to improve access to clean water and to build a latrine for the village.