The enormous wealth of Sierra Leone's natural resources has been more of a burden than an opportunity for development. A bloody war fought with machetes ─ often wielded by child soldiers ─ caused at least 75,000 deaths (out of a total population of 4.5 million). And, the deliberate mutilation of thousands more forced the migration of two thirds of the population to neighboring Guinea and Liberia.
The civil war completely destroyed the country’s medical infrastructure.The infant mortality rate, which until 2005 was the highest in the world, is caused for the most part by malaria, diarrhea and common infections.
In 2001, EMERGENCY began a program for war victims in Goderich, a village near Freetown. Due to the evident dire medical needs of the population, the center widened its admissions criteria to include orthopedics, and all surgical emergencies.
In 2002, EMERGENCY built a Pediatric Outpatient Department next to the hospital where treatment mainly for malaria, anemia and respiratory infections is offered.
Since 2001 EMERGENCY has treated over 415,210 people in Sierra Leone.