Jhpiego Donates Over $70,000 Worth of Equipment to National Emergency Call Centers


By Millicent Senava Mannah

In a significant boost to Sierra Leone’s emergency health infrastructure, Jhpiego, with funding support from USAID, through their RISE Project, has handed over IT equipment worth over $70,000 to the National Public Health Agency (NPHA). The equipment, which includes solar power systems, aims to enhance the operations of the national emergency call centers across all districts in the country. The official handover ceremony took place on Wednesday June 12, 2024 at the NPHA headquarters on Wilkinson Road in Freetown.

The donated items comprise 20 laptops, 18 Samsung Galaxy phones, 40 wireless headphones, 10 sets of solar panels and accessories, mobile phones, and eight solar electric rechargeable power banks with 20,000 Amp capacity. This donation is intended to improve the response to public health emergencies by ensuring swift and efficient communication.

Madam Baindu Kosia, Country Director of Jhpiego, highlighted the critical role of the 117 call center in early detection and surveillance of health emergencies. She stated that the RISE project, funded by USAID, has supported various technical areas within the Ministry of Health and NPHA, including waste management, community health, medical oxygen and the operationalization of the 117 call center.

She noted that a recent assessment identified significant operational challenges at the district level, such as  lack of equipment and human resources. The RISE project’s procurement of essential IT equipment aims to address those challenges and ensure the call centers are fully functional.

Madam Baindu Kosia, also mentioned ongoing efforts to educate the public on the appropriate use of the 117 emergency line to reduce prank calls.

Aiah Soso Konneh, Development Assistant Specialist for Health at USAID Sierra Leone, explained that the initiative is part of their broader objectives to strengthen the health system and respond to COVID-19. The donation addresses logistical and equipment gaps identified at the 117 emergency response center particularly those highlighted during the Ebola and COVID-19 outbreaks. Soso Konneh emphasized the importance of maintaining the equipment for its intended purpose to avoid donor fatigue and ensure sustainability.

Leslie Senesie, the Manager of the 117 call center, expressed gratitude to USAID and Jhpiego. He noted that the new equipment will significantly enhance their ability to respond to health emergencies effectively. He also acknowledged Jhpiego’s role in setting up the technical equipment.

The  donation marks a substantial step forward in strengthening Sierra Leone’s emergency health response capabilities, ensuring that the 117 call center is better equipped to handle public health emergencies across the nation.


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