How many more babies must die in hospital in Freetown because of lack of electricity?

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 April 2024:

Dr. Jeredine George, a specialist Obstetrician Gynaecologist at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) commonly called Cottage reported on social media this week that a newborn baby has died at the hospital because of lack of electricity.

Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone with a population of over 2 million people, is facing acute electricity outage which has lasted for many weeks if not months, because of government’s failure to pay the Turkish electricity generating company $48 million it owes.

The government says it has no cash. But many in Sierra Leone are accusing the government of rampant corruption, with the President and state officials living a luxurious and flamboyant lifestyle, whilst sick patients in hospitals are dying.

(Photo above: These are the children of President Bio enjoying a luxurious holiday onboard a multi-million dollar yacht abroad, not dissimilar to this shown below).

Public records show that since 2018, President Bio and his ministers have spent more than Twenty-Eight Million Dollars on overseas travel: 2018— $3,484,000; 2019— $4,235,000; 2020—$2,825,000; 2021— $2,201,000; 2022— $6,254,000; and in 2023 — $8,920,000.

According to Dr. George, the baby was in distress while in its mother’s womb and the mother needed oxygen to sustain her baby but there was no power, which caused the death of the baby immediately after surgery was conducted on the mother.

Dr. George reported that there was no electricity at the hospital from 9.15 on Monday night until 8am Tuesday morning.

She also said that the hospital has a solar power system, but this only works for up to five hours. The solar powered generator she said, provided electricity at the operating theatre until Monday night 9.15pm, before it went off.

She stated that nurses on night duty have no other option but to admit, care for, and give medications to patients in the dark or use their phone torches or those of the patient’s relatives.

She called on the authorities concerned to come to the aid of the hospital as there are many issues at the hospital.

Few days ago, Dr George posted this distressing and sad cry out for help:

“Yesterday morning I posted this pic on my mobile status with the caption “ar ready for the on call tiday: bring it on! and I was indeed ready. What I wasn’t ready for was the extensive hours of power outage that came with it.

If you don’t know me, my name is Dr Jeredine George and I’m a Specialist Obstetrician Gynaecologist working at the national OBGYN hospital, PCMH normally called “cottage”.

My team is on call every Monday and yesterday was no exception. There was lightout in the hospital from 9:15pm yesterday till 8am today.

Let me give you scenarios of what this implies: nurses and doctors are examining patients with phone torches, patients who require oxygen did not get it, babies who needed oxygen whilst in their mothers’ wombs did not get it and as a result we lost a baby immediately after surgery because it was in distress before delivery and some oxygen to the mother would have helped it.

Before you ask, the solar installed in the compound serving both hospitals can only last for a maximum of 5 hours in full capacity and this was what was in operation till 9:15pm.

The generator owned by the hospital can serve only the operating theatre.

Nurses had to admit, care for and give medications to patients in the dark! if they’re lucky by the use of their phone torches or that of the patient’s relatives.

This is not an attack on anyone or anything in particular, this is a desperate cry for help from a clinician who experiences on a daily basis what the average Sierra Leonean pregnant woman is facing just because the system is failing them.

There are many issues at PCMH! we need help.

I’m typing this and crying because we had a terrible night: my junior doctors and I have not slept a wink since 8am yesterday.

We are not complaining about the work load or salary but just that the working conditions should be better and that the patients who are promised free health care will receive it.

They come to the hospital with nothing expecting free treatment but lo and behold they have to purchase almost everything needed for their survival.

Sometimes, we take from our meagre salaries and purchase these consumables for them not because we have to spare but because we cannot sit down and watch patients die because they can’t afford them.

There is no shame in this, there is no hiding. We need help at PCMH.

What pained us the most was that the children’s hospital in the same compound has a generator that provided power throughout the night, the same time the “cottage” hospital was in darkness.

If you’re reading this and are passionate about maternal health, please help us get the help we need.

Not on paper, but physically that patients can benefit from!

Do not ask whether the authorities know because they do and maybe there’s nothing they can do so we need much bigger help.

The issues are numerous at PCMH but yesterday’s duty brought to light the very sad conditions under which clinicians are forced to work.

I’ve never done this before, I had complained to different individuals but not on such a large platform.

Maybe it’s about time we get help.

P.S we had 2 maternal near misses and many other incidents during the on call; thankfully we managed them and had no mortality.

Thanks to all the staff who worked during the night of Monday 22nd April 2024: you all are heroes. May God bless the works of your hands.

Una bear me, I’m crying as I’m typing this: e mona.” (END).

How many more babies must die in in hospitals across Sierra Leone because of lack of electricity?


In the last few hours the Sierra Leone Telegraph has learnt that Dr Jeredine George has been replaced from her acting role as Medical Superintendent of PCMH by the ministry of health, although she continues working at the hospital as specialist Obstetrician Gynaecologist.

This is what the leader of the main opposition APC in parlaiment – Abdul Karbgo said on Twitter:

1 Comment

  1. President Bio has asked the citizens to engage in prayers to commemorate Sierra Leone’s 63rd independence anniversary.

    It is not prayers that Sierra Leone lacks or needs as we collectively pray as a nation more than many successful nations in Africa. What we lack is good leadership committed to the development and welfare of its people.

    Prayers will not bring us electricity, water or good governance, it is visionary leadership with a committed flock that brings us that.

    The United States has put money on the table to bring us sustainable electricity, all they ask for is good governance, reform of our electoral laws and practices to put a permanent end to the stealing of elections like we recently experienced.

    As for Sierra Leoneans, God will not send us good leaders; he gave us eyes, ears and senses to enable us elect those leaders who will bring prosperity to our nation.

    Mostly, we continue to elect leaders in our political parties and the Country based on tribal, regional and greedy sentiments.

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