Sierra Leone

Goderich Surgical Centre

A reference hospital for surgery and traumatology for the entire country.

EMERGENCY’s Surgical Centre in Goderich – located just outside the capital, Freetown – was originally opened as a trauma centre in 2001, at the end of the country’s decade-long civil war. As health needs in the country changed, the hospital adapted: during the Ebola epidemic from 2014-2015, ours was the only hospital to remain open even when the country’s infrastructure had been closed for weeks for fear of contagion.

The Reference Centre for Traumatology

The Surgical Centre is the reference hospital for traumatology for all of Sierra Leone: many patients are transferred to Goderich from hospitals in other provinces in Sierra Leone, and sometimes even from neighbouring countries

Limited at first to urgent and war-related surgery, our admission criteria have progressively expanded. Today, they include traumatologyurgent surgery for conditions like hernias or intestinal perforations, and elective surgery.


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The Centre also has a guesthouse to accommodate relatives and other people accompanying patients from far away.

The Program for Esophageal Burns

We run the only programme in the entire country for the treatment of burns caused by accidental ingestion of caustic soda, an unfortunately common phenomenon in Sierra Leone.

A campaign launched at the end of the civil war taught women how to produce soap at home using caustic soda. The unexpected consequence of the campaign: the transparent colour of the soda confuses children, who mistake it for water. After ingesting the liquid, the burns caused by the soda can impair swallowing and lead to malnutrition.

Training in the Hospital

As in all EMERGENCY projects, the Goderich Surgical Centre prioritizes the training of local staff, part of a long-term vision of sustainability. The Ministry of Health officially recognized the hospital as a teaching facility and in 2022 asked us to begin training anesthesia nurses.

At the 2022 National Health Summit, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation recognized our colleagues in Goderich as the “Best Performing Medical Emergency Response Team” thanks to their work supporting the country through some of the most difficult times: from the Ebola outbreak to a landslide that swept through an entire neighborhood of Freetown in 2017, from responding to COVID-19 to managing a tragic mass casualty incident after a tanker exploded in Wellington in November 2021.

Program Data

Location: Goderich

Start of clinical activities: November 2001

Activities: General and emergency Surgery, orthopedic and reconstructive surgery, traumatology.

Facilities: Accident and emergency, clinic, 3 operating theatres, sterilization, intensive care, wards, physiotherapy, radiology, laboratory and blood bank, pharmacy, classrooms, play room, technical and support services, guest accommodation.

Outpatient consultations: 419,116

Admissions: 46,605

Surgical interventions: 66,619

(Data as of December 2022)

Activities at the Centre are funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation

Project funded with the support of Otto per Mille of the Waldensian Church of Italy


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