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Reaching the Unreached

Posted by Vandi Sombie | Jun 2014
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Vandi Sombie is my name, born and bred in Bo town, eldest son of a family of seven to my father (deceased), mother alive in her eighties, and lost younger sibling as a result of deadly preventable diseases viz poliomyelitis and diarrhea and vomiting secondary to dehydration. It was these episodes which motivated me to pursue medical training and to work to save lives of children in my country – Sierra Leone, a country with one of highest infant mortality rates in world.

I had my primary and secondary education in Bo through government scholarships, and this opportunity extended further to undergraduate medical training at the Bo paramedical school in 1984. Later, I undertook postgraduate training in the department of community health and clinical sciences (Njala University), obtaining an international postgraduate certificate (IPPC) at the University of Sydney and Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Australia. While I worked as head of paediatrics at the Bo Government Hospital, I benefitted from many short courses in paediatrics nationally and internationally, management of paediatrics HIV/AIDS in Gaborone Botswana, neonatal resuscitation and kangaroo mother care at the department of Child Health in the University of Ghana in ACCRA.

Due to shortage of full time specialist paediatrician, I was appointed the Medical superintendent of BCH and Assistant to Dr Muctarr Jalloh, Consultant Paediatrician who works part time at BCH. My work generally entails me being on call 7 days a week except when I am unwell. I am married with four children and passionate about children’s issues. My focus at Bo Children’s Hospital is to increase accessibility of ‘reaching the unreached’, establishing intensive care for critically ill children, and also expanding service to patients that require privacy for fund raising and isolation to prevent spread of highly infectious diseases.