Montrose holds medical devices workshops for frontline health workers across Sierra Leone

Montrose is holding a series of learning and dissemination workshops under the banner “An Evidence-based Approach to Acquiring and Disposing of Medical Devices” as part of the Saving Lives in Sierra Leone (SLiSL) programme.

The Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), formerly DFID, has been investing in the Sierra Leone health system through SLiSL to reduce the high maternal, child and infant mortality rates while also improving access to and demand for family planning services. As part of the programme, FCDO, through various partners, purchased and allocated medical devices to support the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of people in need of medical care at peripheral health units and hospitals around the country. The devices included incubators, infant warmers, oxygen concentrators, photometers/bilirubin meters, fetal doppler scanners, infusion pumps, phototherapy units and patient monitors. These medical devices are now considered priority assets of the Government of Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) and remain critical to strengthening the overall national health system.

A workshop led by Montrose technical advisor Dr Dinsie Williams
The workshops included group learning sessions

The workshops, which are taking place across the country, aim to inform frontline staff about the state of medical devices in the SLiSL programme as well as to explore the pathways through which devices are allocated and distributed within the MoHS. Through the workshops, Montrose is introducing frontline staff to the concept of evidence-based facility-level planning and how consideration of their skill sets by administrators is central to lengthening the lifespan of each medical device.

The workshop participants include district medical officers, community health officers, maternal and child healthcare aides, state-educated community health nurses, matrons, technicians, store managers, monitoring and evaluation officers and logistics officers.

The workshops include the audit of medical devices in the SLiSL programme, field visits, roundtable discussions on medical devices across the MoHS (including the Central Medical Stores), and an interactive demonstration of an evidence-based approach to acquiring or investing in medical devices.

Speaking at the opening of the workshops, Montrose’s technical advisor Dr Dinsie Williams said: “The teams must have basic knowledge of the handling and management of medical devices to maximise the lifespan of the devices they plan to acquire.”

The workshops provide an opportunity for participants to share ideas and some of their experiences with medical devices. So far, the team has held workshops in Kailahun, Bo, Makeni, Port Loko, Kono and Freetown.

Ngozi Loy, a community health officer in Makeni, said: “I am happy to have attended this workshop. I now know that I can contribute to the longevity of the lifespans of medical devices through my actions as a frontline worker.”