A new programme is helping improve quality of emergency care
In addition to community engagement which promotes early treatment-seeking behaviour, efforts are also underway to strengthen the quality of emergency care for sick children.
This is why the Ministry of Health and Sanitation with support of the World Health Organization and UK aid has introduced the Emergency Triage Assessment and Treatment (ETAT+) programme in all districts, training hospital doctors, Community Health Officers, midwives and nurses to strengthen emergency paediatric care.
More than 200 health workers have so far been trained through a three-month on the job ETAT course, including 35 health workers from the villages. Necessary equipment has also been provided, with logistical support to ensure ease of access to essential drugs and supplies.
Accelerating triage and treatment time within the major hospitals
And the ETAT+ programme has already shown highly promising results. It was first piloted at the Ola During Children’s Hospital in Freetown with support from the UK’s Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Not only have child survival rates there improved, nurses participating in the programme were found to be three times more likely to correctly identify children needing emergency and priority treatment, and time to treatment was reduced from three to less than one hour.
These results are in line with international evidence from other countries such as Uganda where facility-based childhood mortality almost halved in facilities where ETAT has been successfully implemented.