Dr Conteh, Specialist Physician
ABOUT DR CONTEH
Dr Conteh is a Specialist Physician at Connaught, Sierra Leone’s biggest hospital. Like many in Sierra Leone, he has contracted malaria multiple times in his life. It was these frequent hospital visits for treatment during his childhood that inspired him to start practising medicine.
In Sierra Leone it is not uncommon for sick people to be treated for malaria when they haven’t been tested for the disease and in fact don’t carry it at all. Determined to stop this poor practice and to help eradicate malaria, Dr Conteh is part of an innovative new programme at the Connaught called ‘Strengthening Health Systems to Improve Fever managemenT’ (SHIFT).
"WE HAVE TO BREAK THE CYCLE OF TREATING PEOPLE BASED ON CLINICAL ASSUMPTION. WE HAVE TO TEST BEFORE WE TREAT, AND THEN WHEN WE TREAT, WE TRY TO TRACK THOSE CASES AND MAKE SURE THAT WE FOLLOW THEM AND COMPLETE THEIR TREATMENT."
Everyday Dr Conteh experiences first-hand the strain that malaria treatment and care have on resources at the Connaught and the wider health sector. The SHIFT programme run by the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership, a project funded by the Comic Relief and GSK partnership, aims to improve the diagnosis and treatment of malaria using a test, track, treat approach.
Through the programme, health workers at the Connaught are receiving vital training. A computer-based data system is, for the first time, being implemented and the learning’s from the work will be compiled into a practical toolkit and shared with other hospitals in the country to help them improve the quality of care for patients.
Dr Conteh is optimistic that by using this holistic and evidence-based approach, the fight against malaria can be won and the lives of many improved or saved.