ANNUAL REPORT 2016

Executive Summary

Twenty-sixteen was the first year post-Ebola and we are happy to say that the operations of the society have recovered well, although we were not able to reach the same level of activity as in the years preceding the pandemic. However, the society still met its aims in providing diagnosis, counselling, maintenance treatment, specialist referrals and public education. 

By 2016, the Ebola pandemic that, in 2014-2015, had engulfed Sierra Leone and neighbouring countries was over. That allowed the Society to return to normal operations, with clinics resuming enrolment of new patients as well as ramping up regular follow-up visits. Normal operating hours at our two sites, 25 Thomas Street and 86 Kissy Road, continued from Monday to Friday, 9.00 am to 4.00 pm.

During the year, we met our main objectives, with client visits showing an increase of nearly 200 over the previous year. The total figure of 2441, however, is still below the peak of 4175 reached in 2013, the year before the outbreak of Ebola (see Table). During the year, there were 292 new and 2348 follow-up visits distributed between the two clinics. All 292 new cases went through genetic counseling sessions with full participation of the patients, their parents and care-givers. Out of the 292 new clients, 195 were shown to have Hb SS, 13 Hb SC and 64 Hb AA.

There was a slight change in the pattern of referral for specialist care, in that some clients undertook to self-refer instead of going through either of our clinics. However, there was no change in the total number referred, although the proportion, with respect to total visits, was moderately increased to 394 of 2640 (14.9%) from the 398 of 2447 (16.3%) for 2015. Fifty-one (51) of these referrals were admitted to in-patient care, representing an increase of 27.5% over 2015. The majority of the referrals, 337, were to the Connaught Hospital, whereas 57 went to the Ola During Children’s Hospital and 4 to the Women’s Health Care Center. Among the 51 admissions, 41 (80.3%) received urgent blood transfusion. 

Overall mortality, measured in relation to the total number of visits was 0.34%, lower than the rates observed in the two previous years (0.49%, 2014) and (0.76%, 2014).

Year            Number of visits
2016                        2640
2015                        2447
2014                        3031
2013                        4175

Despite funding constraints that arose from fluctuating currency rates and other shocks, we were able to maintain the essential drugs and medical supplies programme through energetic market research. We met our targets regarding supplies of folic acid and other B-group vitamins, analgesics, malaria prophylaxis and treatment and antibiotics, as well as other medical and surgical supplies.

Collaboration and Information Exchange

During the year the Society was invited to join the National Anemia Working Group. The group is now working on the Sierra Leone National Multi-sectoral Strategy to prevent and control Anaemia with the aim of developing strategies to reduce the incidence of anemia among children aged under 5, pregnant women and others of childbearing age. We also continued discussions regarding collaboration with the Kono District-based organization, Sickle Cell Carers Awareness Network (SCCAN) which is in the process of developing a joint venture with the University of Cincinnati, USA.

Sickle Cell Education

We met our objective of supporting sickle cell education in the general public and in schools in that during World Sickle Cell Day (June 19th) celebrations during the month, the theme, “Life with Sickle Cell: Help patients and families fight sickle cell anaemia” was promoted, using electronic, print and other media. 
The School Link Officer visited six secondary schools during the year and interacted with pupils through sickle cell clubs as follows: Prince of Wales Junior Secondary School, Sierra Leone Grammar School, Freetown Secondary School for Girls, Methodist Boys High School, Methodist Girls High School and Bishop Johnson Memorial School. 
This year, as in previous years, the society provided social and financial support to client families that are unable to meet some of their basic needs.

Acknowledgements

The work of the society could not have been continued without the support of many, some of whom are listed below: 

Anglo Sierra Leone Lodge
Dr & Mrs Sola Somolu
Dr Ahovi Kponou
Dr Akim Gibril.
Dr David Baion 
Dr Lottie Whitefield 
Dr M S Jalloh.
Dr Olubunmi Robbin-Coker
Dr. and Dr. Mrs. Alpha Wurie and staff at RAMSY Laboratories,
Dr. Christine Cole, Wellness Pharma SL LTD
Dr. I B Peters 
Dr. Len Gordon-Harris, Diagnostic Centre at Bathurst Street. 
Dr. Samuel Smith, Director, Malaria Control Programme 
Gerald Cosmo Jarrett
Manager & Staff, POTTAL Pharmacy,
Mercury International 
Methodist Central Hall
Mr & Mrs Nicholas Woodgates
Mr & Mrs Nobisizwe Adekayode
Mr A Abadeyi
Mr Eugene Roberts
Mr Raymond L Jarrett
Mr. Basie Turay, Director of Pharmaceuticals and Medical supplies, Ministry of Health and Sanitation 
Mrs Bertha Malamah-Thomas
Mrs Bridget Ambroglio
Mrs Daphne Solomon
Mrs Doreen Mengot
Mrs Joy Richards
Mrs Margaret Jacobson
Ms Sylvia Gilpin-Jackson
Prof & Mrs M Millgate
Rokel Commercial Bank
Sickle Cell Anemia Relief Foundation, USA
Staff at Connaught Hospital & Ola During Memorial Hospital  
The Sierra Leone Grammar School
Women’s Health Clinic 
Dr Gibrilla Fadlu-Deen