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Health partnerships

Sierra Leone

  • The King’s Sierra Leone Partnership, established in 2011, is a health system strengthening programme  in Sierra Leone that draws on staff expertise from across King’s Health Partners to support health worker training, policy, research and clinical services.
  • Our key partners are the College of Medicine & Allied Health Sciences, Connaught Hospital and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.
  • The partnership has an office at Connaught Hospital in Freetown and an in-country team led by Dr Oliver Johnson.
  • The management committee of the partnership is made up of a wide range of clinical, academic and technical staff from across King’s

Country profile

Sierra Leone

  • Sierra Leone is a small country in West Africa with a population of six million which experienced brutal civil war between 1991 and 2002, during which 50,000 civilians were killed
  • The country has now returned to stability and has had democratic elections, but it remains near the bottom of the Human Development Index (180/189)
  • Life expectancy is 47, with an under-5 mortality rate of 192/1000 and a maternal mortality rate of 975/100,000
  • The government is committed to improving health services, pledging to meet the Abuja target of 15% of GDP spending towards health and introducing free healthcare for under-5s and pregnant women in 2010.
  • Critical shortage of health workers, with fewer than 100 doctors practicing in the public sector, including very few specialists, and high vacancy rates for other cadres - 215 pharmacists (52%) and 3210 nurses and midwives (64%)

Partners and projects

College of Medicine & Allied Health Sciences

The College of Medicine & Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS), Sierra Leone’s only medical and pharmacy school and largest nursing college, is critical for the rebuilding of the health workforce but has limited training capacity. Curricula are outdated, staff have had no training in teaching methods, facilities are poorly equipped and there are no training programmes for dentists or other essential cadres. Consequently, the dropout rate is high and graduates are inadequately trained, many leaving the country for further education. This undermines health outcomes for the whole country.

COMAHS is committed to improving its training and facilities, and we have received a grant from the Department for International Development to  help them to:

  • Develop revised, community-oriented curricula for all programmes
  • Train staff in curriculum development and modern teaching methods
  • Provide supplementary teaching to students
  • Equip classrooms and the clinical skills and IT labs
  • Develop proposals for new training programmes for other cadres

Connaught Hospital

Connaught Hospital is Sierra Leone’s principal adult referral hospital, providing medical and surgical services, including HIV/AIDS, TB and Leprosy, Ophthalmology, Physiotherapy, Oral Health and an outpatient department for emergency care.

Connaught Hospital aims to become a centre of excellence in Sierra Leone for specialist patient care, training and research. However it is currently facing significant challenges in achieving this goal and providing expected levels of patient care.

This long-term mission will require Connaught Hospital to make continuous improvements and advances over many years and they have requested King’s to provide a range of specialist technical expertise in both clinical care and hospital management to help achieve this.

The five key pillars for this partnership are:

  1.  Clinical Leadership and Hospital Management
  2.  Emergency Medicine Department
  3.  Clinical Guidelines and Audit
  4.  Patient Experience and Safety
  5.  Training Facilities and Accreditation for Postgraduate Training

Ministry of Health and Sanitation

King’s works closely with the Ministry of Health & Sanitation to ensure that our partnerships and programmes are aligned with national priorities and coordinated with other organization in the public and non-governmental sectors. We are also working to support the Ministry of Health & Sanitation to develop policies and strengthen management systems across areas relating to our work. In particular, we work with the:

  • Directorate of Human Resources for Health
  • Directorate of Hospitals, Labs & Training
  • Directorate of Non-Communicable Disease & Research

Mental Health

King’s has a particular focus on improving mental health services in Sierra Leone and is working with a range of partners, such as the Sierra Leone National Mental Health Coalition and Enabling Access to Mental Health project, to:

  • Develop systems of care at the community level
  • Improve policy, regulations, and guidelines governing mental health care
  • Strengthen training and supervision of health workers for integrated mental health at the primary care level

In addition, we are working to develop a partnership with the Sierra Leone Psychiatric Hospital in Kissy.

Student initiatives

The King;’s Sierra Leone Student Partnership (KSLSP)is a KCL Medsin-affiliated project which aims to facilitate a mutually beneficial exchange of ideas, skills and resources between Sierra Leonean and King’s College London student bodies 

KSLSP provide regular input into the design and management of KSLP activities and facilitate and appropriately manage student involvement in this. To date, this includes developing long-term links between King’s and COMAHS student bodies, developing an online peer-to-peer education programme, managing an electives exchange programme and raising the profile of KSLP amongst the student body, including fundraising.

For further information, contact Catherine Marshall and Victoria Bakare, the KSLSP co-chairs.

Management Committee

The King’s Sierra Leone Partnership is coordinated by a management committee consisting of the leads of each of the project areas and meets on a monthly basis to share updates and set the strategic direction of the Partnership.

Management committee


Name and Position

Centre Director  

Mr Andy Leather

Consultant Trauma Surgeon (KCH) and Director of the King’s Centre for Global Health (KCL/KHP)

Partnership Lead

Dr Oliver Johnson

Partnership Coordinator

Hannah Franklin

Cancer & Palliative Care

Prof Richard Sullivan

Director, King’s Cancer Policy Institute (KCL)

Professor Richard Harding

Reader, Cicely Saunders Institute

Child Health

Dr Tom Lissauer

Consultant Paediatrician


Prof Stephen Challacombe

Retired Dentist (GSTT), Professor of Oral Medicine (KCL) and Dean of External Affairs (KHP)

Emergency Medicine

Dr Ling Harrison

Specialist Registrar (ST6) in Emergency Medicine (KCH)

Health Professions Education

Prof John Rees

Retired Consultant Physician (GSTT) & Professor of Medical Education (KCL)

Infectious Diseases

Dr Colin Brown & Dr Cordelia Coltart

Academic Clinical Fellows in Infectious Disease (GSTT)


Norma Dickson

IT Consultant (KCL)


Sarah Hosein

Child Services Manager (KCH)

Medical Electives

Dr Frank Post

Infectious Disease Consultant (KCH) and Head of Electives (KCL)

Mental Health

Dr Susie Whitwell

Consultant Psychiatrist (SLAM)


Katie Yiannouzis

Retired Head of Midwifery (KCH)


Jacqui Boulton

Clinical Tutor in Adult Nursing (KCL)


Nicola Husain

Clinical Tutor in Pharmacy (KCL/GSTT)


Gemma Cook



Dr Paula Barraitser

Consultant and Research Lead for Sexual Health (KCH)


Catherine Marshall and Victoria Bakare

Nursing and Medical Students (KCL)


Mr Andy Leather

Consultant Trauma Surgeon (KCH) and Director of the King’s Centre for Global Health (KCL/KHP)

Getting Involved

We are looking to engage staff from across King’s Health Partners to volunteer and provide support to the Partnership by undertaking trips, providing online distance training or by fundraising. We are particularly looking for expertise in health professions education, health informatics and communications.

We are also looking for long-term in-country volunteers with experience in hospital management, human resources for health policy and accident and emergency triage.

For more information please visit our specific King's Sierra Leone Partnership website or contact Dr Oliver Johnson and Hannah Franklin.


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