Assisting Doctors Without Borders in One of the Poorest Countries in the World
In partnership with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins San Frontières (MSF), RED NOSES International (RNI) is sending a team of professional clowns on an Emergency Smile mission to Sierra Leone to provide psychosocial support.
Sierra Leone has some of the worst health indicators in the world, especially for maternal and child mortality*. In addition, many people do not have access to basic healthcare services. To make matters worse, the healthcare system has suffered tremendously as a result of the Ebola-epidemic.
After the country was declared Ebola-free in 2015, MSF began a new project with the Ministry of Health in Koinadugu district, in the northern part of Sierra Leone, to reduce the maternal, neonatal and child mortality in the district. MSF is providing critical support in the Kabala District Hospital where over 400,000 people seek lifesaving services a year.
The four-week long Emergency Smile mission will aid the MSF healthcare staff by integrating humour in their psychosocial support activities. RED NOSES clowns visit patients in the Kabala District Hospital and outreach villages in the neighbouring region. The mission will also reinforce MSF's health promotion initiatives, covering topics like antenatal care for pregnant women, malaria prevention, blood transfusion, and childbirth. Additionally, the RED NOSES clowns will give workshops to MSF and Ministry of Health staff to teach participants how to integrate playfulness and humour into their daily work routines.
Our presence is welcomed. Sister Jabi explained it like this, “There is so much stress and tension here. We have so much work. The work you do is wonderful for us all here.”
She too feels the immense burden of providing assistance to those who need it most. She also appreciates the positive impact our professional artists have on patients and staff.
The mission takes place between November 10th and December 3rd. Four professional RED NOSES artists from different countries make up this Emergency Smile clown team. They are: Tímea Till (Slovakia); Florentine Schara (Germany); Marina Bažulić (Croatia); and Daniel Rüb (Austria). The work MSF is doing in Sierra Leone is incredible and we are looking forward to cooperating with them in the future.
*According to the Human Development Index 2016, Sierra Leone is among the world’s poorest countries ranking 179th out of 187 countries. Hdr.undp.org. (2017). Human Development Index (HDI) | Human Development Reports. [online] Available at: hdr.undp.org/en/2016-report [Accessed 30 Nov. 2017]