Charity Information

Friends of Nixon Memorial Hospital, Segbwema, Sierra Leone is a registered charity no. 1145455.

Registered office:
Friends of Nixon Memorial Hospital, Segbwema, Sierra Leone
11a Denbigh Road,
W11 2SJ,

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About Us

The Friends of Nixon Memorial Hospital

"Friends of Nixon" exists to support the work of the Nixon Memorial Hospital, Segbwema, a small rural Methodist mission hospital in Eastern Sierra Leone that serves an estimated 30,000 people.

Our trustees consist of a group of individuals from both Sierra Leone and the UK who have a desire to support the work of the hospital and facilitate improvements in the healthcare it provides. We achieve this through funding training opportunities, community health work, infrastructure projects and medicine provision.

Nixon Hospital: A brief History


The hospital has its origins around 1930, when a nurse who was the wife of a British Methodist minister started treating the sick on the veranda of their bungalow. From those beginnings it became clear that there was a great need for medical care and indeed for a hospital. So it was that around 1950 when Alderman John Nixon, previously Lord Mayor of Newcastle, approached the officers of the Methodist Missionary Society to offer to donate money for medical services to a needy place in the developing world to the memory of his wife, the need for a hospital in Segbwema was suggested. Thus a large amount of money was provided; wards, out patients and a nursing school developed, with both ex-patriot and local staff. During the subsequent decades the Nixon Hospital progressed to become a centre of clinical excellence with a widely acclaimed nursing school and a renowned centre for Lassa Fever research.

Rebuilding from Civil War

Sadly as a result of the Sierra Leone civil war between 1991 and 2002 the hospital infrastructure and buildings were destroyed, equipment looted, staff fled and the hospital eventually closed.

At the end of the war, a few staff started to return to the hospital; including the current medical superintendent who initially slept on the floor of the under 5s clinic.

Over the last decade there had been progress in the redevelopment of the hospital facility. The nursing school re-opened in 2006 and with 300 students, the hospital re-started providing inpatient and outpatient treatment to children and adults, together with a community health programme. The operating theatre was refurbished between 2011 and 2012 and was re-equipped. Various visiting doctors have helped support its clinical work and technical teams have assisted in improving water supplies and setting up solar lighting for the wards.

The Ebola Epidemic

As the hospital continued its re-development, tragically in 2014 it found itself hit by the Ebola epidemic that swept across West Africa. Very sadly the hospital lost 5 staff members to Ebola, including 4 nurses. This, together with the passing away of the hospital's long serving theatre master earlier in the year, had a significant impact on the ability of the hospital to meet the healthcare needs of Segbwema and its surrounds. During the epidemic the Nixon nursing school was closed and activity at the hospital was very limited, in part due to the community's mistrust of all healthcare institutions and misunderstandings regarding Ebola. The Ebola outbreak had tragic direct consequences but also highlighted the persistent fragility of health care structures across Sierra Leone of which Nixon Hospital was not exempt.

Moving Forward

Thankfully, with support , the hospital is now beginning to move forward. The nursing school re-opened in April 2015 , the hospital's community work focusing on latrines and sanitation has restarted and the numbers of women delivering their babies on the maternity ward continues to increase, partly as a result of a partnership with Marie Stopes International. To ensure its viability and sustainability the government of Sierra Leone has pledged to subsidise a proportion of staff salaries.

"Friends of Nixon" is one of a number of partner organisations who look forward to continuing to support the hospital's development with a focus on community health work, training, education and infrastructure support.