AHF made its foray into Sierra Leone’s HIV response by participating in the 2009 World AIDS Day events led by the National AIDS Secretariat (NAS). By December 2010, AHF supported the testing of over 20,000 people during the World AIDS Day celebration; as a result, NAS invited AHF to establish a more permanent presence in Sierra Leone to support HIV prevention, treatment, and care services. In April 2011, AHF donated $10,000 to support the renovation of the National Reference Laboratory at Lakka, which stands today as the only laboratory of its kind in the country. In July of the same year, AHF registered officially in Sierra Leone as an International Non-Governmental Organisation (INGO); the first INGO and currently the largest INGO provider of free HIV/AIDS care and treatment services in the country.
The Operations started in September 2012 at the Jenner Wright Clinic, Freetown with zero clients, four full-time staff and an Independent Contractor. At the end of the year we were only able to serve 23 clients. In 2013 we expanded our support to Waterloo, which was an existing treatment site with about 300 clients and by 2014 we started supporting the Kenema Government Hospital but could not expand beyond Kenema township because of the Ebola outbreak. Towards the end of 2015, we started a Wellness Clinic – an AHF owned clinic and expanded to Panguma Hospital and Tongo CHC, followed by Bo and Makeni Government hospitals and 2 outposts in Makeni in 2016. In 2018, we extended our support to the Connaught HIV clinic and Kissy UMC General Hospital. The program has grown rapidly over the past 6 years and currently supports eight comprehensive clinics and twelve outposts (satellite sites) (nationally 18 treatment and 2 HTC sites) with about 12,200 clients i.e. about 47% of clients (26,203) in care nationwide. Every site where we have a presence is renovated to ensure a conducive and friendly environment for both clients and staff. All services are FREE and coordinated by a team of committed and dedicated local experts.
In collaboration with and support from strategic partners like NAS, NACP, NETHIPS etc. AHF provides
• Condoms (Love and Icon) through the facilities, outreaches, campaigns, condom dispensers etc.;
• Counseling and testing services – PITC, VCCT and now promoting family and index testing;
• ARVs (80% from government) as a buffer stock;
• Treatment of opportunistic infections, paediatric care and elimination of mother to child transmission services;
• AHF supports eight functional laboratories providing necessary diagnostic tests for clients including CD4 tests. AHF also supports clients for X-rays and other more specialized services as long as they can’t afford the cost of the service.
• We have been piloting with success the one stop concept for SRH integration in our Wellness Clinic in Freetown. With support from the NTLCP and the RH program of the MOHS, we are providing TB, STI management and family planning services in addition to the HIV services.
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