The Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone five years ago exposed fatal weaknesses in its health system. The country urgently required an improved, nationally integrated Community Health Worker (CHW) programme to deliver enhanced primary health services, as well as a strategic plan incorporating lessons learned since the programme’s inception and during the Ebola outbreak.
Through a $900,000 grant from The Rockefeller Foundation in 2015, LSE’s International Growth Centre took a sustained role contributing to the revision and roll out of Sierra Leone’s CHW policy.
The programme supported building a resilient health system in Sierra Leone by working with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. Together they developed an evidence-based process for reorganising the existing system, drawing on lessons learned during the Ebola crisis, global evidence on resilient health systems, and original research on improving the effectiveness of CHWs facilitated through the programme.
It also aimed to ensure that processes were in place to allow the health system to be adaptive, and therefore perform the context-dependent functions of resilience, namely: advance assessments of the system’s capacities and weaknesses, investments in vulnerable components of the system before a crisis, reinforcements during the emergency, and review of performance after a crisis.
“We are tremendously grateful for what The Rockefeller Foundation’s partnership and investment over the past three years has enabled IGC to achieve,” said Jonathan Leape, Executive Director of IGC. “In particular, the support ensured IGC has been able to respond proactively and flexibly to the needs of the Sierra Leonean Ministry of Health and Sanitation and work in effective collaboration with them and other partners on the ground.”
“We believe that IGC’s work with the MoHS and other partners has contributed to a more resilient healthcare system in Sierra Leone, by establishing the pre-conditions for resilience, and building future resilience,” he added. “I am proud that The Rockefeller Foundation chose IGC as a partner to further its own aims to ‘promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world’.”