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About UMC Health and Maternity Center, Kissy

Advance # 982168

Mission Statement: In response to the Lord’s Command to help the sick and as a way to bring the Gospel to the Kissy community, we provide good quality, affordable health care services and facilities with prayer, love and compassion.
These new mothers wait to have their names called during the weekly post-natal clinic hosted by Kissy Hospital.  During the clinic the new mothers will have their babies weighed, evaluated and given immunizations, as well as learn how to properly feed and care for the newborns.   Photo by Sally Morris

The organized chaos of an early morning at UMC Health and Maternity Center in Kissy can be overwhelming to those unfamiliar with the aspects of a hospital operating in a developing country. More than 100 people sit on benches, some too ill and weak to sit upright; babies are crying, many from hunger; and hospital staff noisily direct anxious patients and family members to the correct ward. Patients come from the local Kissy neighborhood, in Freetown, or from as far away as the neighboring country of Guinea for the Christian care and compassion offered at UMC Health and Maternity Center.

About the Kissy Community

Kissy is an impoverished community on the east side of Freetown, Sierra Leone. The area is riddled with diseases such as malaria and typhoid. Most homes in the area are concrete and with metal sheet roofs. Running water and electricity is not available. Few have stable jobs and a large percentage of the children are malnourished. The health situation is very poor— few can afford the services of a hospital or doctor.

History of UMC Health and Maternity Center


UMC Health and Maternity Center , Kissy was founded as a health clinic by the Swedish UMC. The clinic was built as an addition to an existing UMC church building in the Freetown community of Kissy.


The health center’s situation was poor: there was no running water, eight under qualified staff members and, the hospital received no more than five outpatients a day for outpatient care.


A new matron was hired.


Dr. Dennis Marke, supported by the Indiana Conference in the US , was asked to join the hospital to facilitate its turnaround.


Kissy Clinic, as it was once known, has turned into a 60-bed hospital with more than 50 people on staff, including four doctors, nurses, midwives, aides, as well as administrative staff and grounds keepers. The hospital now has a maternity ward and laboratory to extend its services as well as a child nutrition program and HIV-testing and counseling center.

Hospital Services

UMC Health and Maternity Center, Kissy provides a range of primary and preventative health care services comprising general medicine, women's health, pediatrics, nutrition, malaria, and tuberculosis (TB) treatment and HIV testing and care.

Fast fact boxMost patients come seeking treatment for malaria, a parasitic disease that is transmitted by mosquitos and causes flu-like symptoms like headache, fever and vomiting. Malaria becomes deadly if the infection is allowed to progress. It can kill red blood cells, resulting in anemia, and clogging the blood vessels that circulate to the brain. A staggering 90% of patients who submit bloodwork at Kissy Center are infected with the disease. While malaria is almost obsolete in the United States and other developed countries, it kills many in Sierra Leone.

Other common ailments faced by the doctors and nurses at UMC Health and Maternity Center, Kissy are tuberculosis, typhoid, scabies, sexually transmitted diseases, and malnutrition.

In addition to the male and female inpatient wards, the primary units of the hospital include:

  • The Maternity Ward, where midwives and staff reach out to the community to educate expectant mothers and traditional birth attendants about proper birthing and childcare techniques, in hopes of battling Sierra Leone’s tragically high maternal morbidity rates.
  • The Nutrition Program, which provides lifesaving food to children and their families who are dying of hunger and malnutrition.

Text Box: An eye patient at KISSY UMC EYE HOSPITAL IS TESTED for her vision status.    Photo by Frank Ishman.  Sharing the campus of Kissy Center is the renowned Kissy UMC Eye Hospital, established by United Methodist missionary, Dr. Lowell Gess and his wife Ruth in 1984. The Eye Hospital is one of the premier optical health centers in West Africa, and boasts an advanced facility, including a new operating room that was completed in 2004. Patients arrive from throughout the region with ailments ranging from conjunctivitis (“pink eye”) to glaucoma, a blinding affliction.





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United Methodist Church Kissy Health and Maternity Center, Advance #982168
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