Clinical Lead, Eternal Love Winning Africa Hospital
Reducing Under 5 Mortality in Liberia
The under-five mortality rate in Liberia is among the highest in the world, at 78.3 per 1,000 lives. The majority of these deaths occur as a result of treatable conditions such as malaria, pneumonia, neonatal sepsis and diarrhoeal illnesses. Severe acute malnutrition (SAM) also underlies many of these conditions, with 1 in 3 children suffering from growth stunting and 45% of deaths attributable to SAM. There are currently limited trained physicians for a population of over 5 million, and many of the nurses and physician assistants lack training and supplies to manage pediatric emergencies.
Dr. Bryant will build the capacity of the staff at the ELWA hospital and two nearby facilities by carrying out the WHO-approved Emergency Triage Assessment and Treatment (ETAT) plus training for nurses and physician assistants. ETAT plus champions will be identified and mentored by the project lead to act as clinical leads on the ELWA pediatric ward.The pediatric ward will also be strengthened by the procurement of sufficient medication, and increased beds and equipment. The project will also expand the SAM treatment program, nutrition outreach, and support the outpatient SAM treatment clinic.
The novel aspect of the intervention is the provision of medication and supplies to make the ETAT training applicable. In similar settings, many staff are unable to implement their training due to shortages and delays of medication and supplies. This has led to the rapid treatments advocated by the ETAT plus training not taking place correctly. By supplying the needed medication, the project enables staff to see real time results as a result of their improved skillset. This will encourage more staff to take on training roles, while also building a positive reputation of the training and greater chance of other hospitals adopting it nationally.
Dr. Bryant is a family practice doctor with an enhanced role in tropical pediatrics and acute medicine based in Liberia, West Africa. He led the major expansion of the pediatric program including the malnutrition program, under 5 clinics, and Liberia’s first Emergency Triage, Assessment and Treatment (ETAT) plus program. Most of his career has taken place in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and South Wales. In South Wales, he worked as a family practice doctor in a practice in Llanelli, a clinical tutor at Cardiff Medical School, a clinical lead in the acute clinical team and out of hours GP, and was pediatric clinical lead at the Aberdeen Women’s Center in Sierra Leone.
Since April 2019, ELWA hospital has operated a service providing affordable care to the most vulnerable children in Liberia. A malnutrition program was added in July 2019, and further expanded in 2020 by Samaritan’s Purse. Thousands of children’s lives have been saved by this program, which now admits over 120 children to inpatient care monthly, in addition to treating over 1000 in the outpatient under 5 clinic. ELWA hospital operates as a close partnership of highly trained Liberian staff and International medical volunteers.