Dr. Koroma was officially invited by the Project Concern International (PCI) and the USAID-funded Every Preemie-SCALE project to the PCI office in Washington, DC to collaborate with Every Preemie-SCALE project and other country representatives on work related to improved preterm birth outcomes in low-income settings.
Professor Dr. Jean Anderson, Gynecology and Obstetrics doubling as Director, Division of Gynecologic Specialties at the John Hopkins Medical Institute said: “We really enjoyed Dr. Koroma’s visit to the John Hopkins Medical Institute and it was an honor to have him with us. I have received many very positive comments about his presentations and much interest. The president of our medical students’ body told me it was one of the best presentations she has seen in all of medical school (she is now a 4th year (final) student and plans to go into OBGYN. Two of our very senior medical practitioners, Dr. Quinn and Dr. Peters also told me how much they enjoyed meeting Dr. Koroma and will be on the look-out for possible funding opportunities.”
She went on to say John Hopkins will definitely want Dr. Koroma’s input to make sure its information on the paper on its PCMH assessment is correct and its discussion and conclusions are appropriate, whilst further expressing excitement about Dr. Koroma’s work with the Institute throughout his stay in the USA
Thrilling his audience at the Phipps 240 Centre, USA, Dr. A.P. Koroma took his audience on a tour of Sierra Leone – John Hopkins University Partnership: Strengthening health service delivery and building human capacity in women’s reproductive health in Sierra Leone.
He gave a background that the country’s decade long civil war was responsible for its insufficient infrastructure ad healthcare which according to him ranked the country 183 out of 187 on the Human Development Index of 2002.
Dr. Koroma went on to say despite the Government of Sierra Leone’s tremendous effort to transform healthcare delivery system, the country still records maternal mortality ratio of 1,165 per 100,000 live births (DHS 2013). He said the country has the highest infant mortality rate in the world at 117 per 1,000 live births and a total fertility rate of 4.8 with a contraceptive prevalence of only 11% with 25% of married women having an unmet need for family planning (2013 DHS).
He said an estimated 20,000 women live with obstetric fistula, cervical cancer: over 500 new cases diagnosed annually with nearly 400 deaths. He said Ebola claimed 3956 lives in Sierra Leone of which 7% of the country’s healthcare workforce died during Ebola.
Despite the free government maternal healthcare, Dr. Koroma told his audience, levels of service delivery for basic and comprehensive obstetric care remains inadequate due to the low numbers of healthcare providers in the country. He said access to specialized women’s healthcare is extremely limited largely due to a lack of trained providers, and there is no in-country OBGYN postgraduate training program.
The doctor further told the students that Sierra Leone has only 2 full-time OBGYNs practicing, and that they are both located at the national maternity referral hospital (PCMH) in the capital of Freetown. He said the lack of women’s reproductive health providers, including physicians, clinical health officers, midwives and nurses is a major reason for increased maternal and infant mortality in the region.
At the end of Dr. Koroma’s presentations, the John Hopkins University expressed dedication to partner with the Government of Sierra Leone to help train the next generation of women’s healthcare specialists. The University further expressed willingness to help build a comprehensive and sustainable program to develop human capacity and address critical reproductive health needs.