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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 February 2008, 22:41 GMT
Profile: Sierra Leone's slum medic
Adama Gondor with a mother and her newborn
Adama Gondor (l) says Kroo Bay is one of the toughest places to live

Adama Gondor will be keeping a regular diary for the BBC News website about running a clinic in a coastal slum of Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown.

Here she discusses the challenges she faces in Kroo Bay, where shanty houses have been built on a rubbish dump on the banks of the Crocodile River.

It's extremely difficult to run an efficient clinic here in Kroo Bay.

I am the Community Health Officer (CHO) at Kroo Bay clinic. A CHO is a paramedic who works in Sierra Leone's community health clinics as the head of the clinic.

Since I took over last October I haven't had the supply of drugs that I need.

Kroo Bay is one of the toughest places to live in the world and most of the patients I treat are ill because they lack the very basic medical requirements and drugs.

View of Kroo Bay
We can't sterilise anything here and we have nothing to dress wounds with
Adama Gondor

The biggest health problems for children in this community are diarrhoea, respiratory diseases - such as pneumonia and coughs - worm infestation and also malaria.

We try and make the most of the drugs we have but often patients go to drug peddlers instead.

I am trained in raising the health of communities and I am really excited to be here and trying to make a difference.

But when I first arrived I was a bit worried when I saw the community and the environment here.

Dirt and smells

Pregnancy can cause many problems for us in Kroo Bay as most people deliver their babies at home.

We encourage them to come to the clinic, but they don't, then if anything goes wrong during delivery they rush to bring them here.

Adama Gondor supervises the weighing of a baby
The clinic is also used as a meeting place and school

We don't have a delivery kit at the clinic; the nurse brings her own personal one for deliveries.

We can't sterilise anything here and we have nothing to dress wounds with.

In the clinic we don't even have equipment for minor surgery.

And the clinic is dirty - we have to clean the dust away several times a day, and often we have the most awful smells.

The community uses the clinic for other purposes - for meetings and for a school - but this is a clinic.

The toilet facilities are very poor; there are cracks all over the building; the cupboards are broken; rats come inside; we don't have enough locks and people have stolen the window glass.

In terms of equipment we have hardly anything at all.

This is a clinic in only the most basic of terms.

Save the Children has launched an interactive website where Kroo Bay residents answer questions about their lives. Visitors will be able to access 360-degree images of the site, and catch up with the latest news from the slum through regular "webisodes".

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