• Our area of operation in Mattru Jong, Sierra Leone.
  • After our initial assessment, we determined sanitation was the first thing to remedy. Shown here are the old restrooms.
  • The new restrooms for the admissions building take shape. A cesspit to serve this facility was also built to our plan.
  • The completed restrooms for the admissions building are in use today and include sinks for hand-washing, seen on the structure's outside wall.
  • The covering slabs for the cesspit, which serves the admissions building restrooms, are put in place.
  • Engineer Carl Zvanut inspects the smaller cesspit for the staff housing.
  • An existing structure, The International House, shown being refurbished to serve as staff housing for staff midwives and their families.
  • What it's all about. Here are new parents outside the Mattru Jong maternity ward, a significant service sector provided at the hospital.
  • Not super exciting, but this is what sustainability looks like. It is having dedicated maintenance people dedicated to preserving vital facilities.
  • Shown here is the symbolic handing over of the keys to Hospital Administrator Abdul Karim. Rest assured our work here is not finished; more projects are under consideration.
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After a very successful outcome at the Centennial Secondary School in Sierra Leone, the Lehigh Valley Chapter of Engineers Without Borders began a new project just down the road at the Mattru Hospital. When it was built in 1965 by the United Brethren in Christ Church, (UBC) it was a premiere facility for such a remote location. The hospital had individual wards for pediatrics, maternity, and adults. It also had a full surgical suite. While the buildings themselves remain, much of the hospital infrastructure was stolen or damaged during the economic crisis and civil war. Building maintenance and repair fell behind.

Despite this, the hospital provides quality medical care to a community of nearly 100,000, seeing 4500 patients a year with staff of 70 made up of 35 nurses and community health officers as well as support staff. There is currently an American doctor there on a two year mission assignment as there are very few doctors in the whole country. In fact there are only 116 doctors for all of the 7.4 million residents of Sierra Leone.

One of the main focuses of the hospital is maternity care. It also treats a wide variety of infectious diseases and conditions common in communities lacking sanitation facilities and access to clean water.

Recently, UBC USA has taken an active role in the hospital and improvements are already being seen. EWB has partnered with UBC and the hospital administration and developed a five-year plan of infrastructure improvements. Initially we focused on sanitation facilities. The next phase was construction of staff housing. On-site housing is sorely needed as midwives and nurses often have to travel large distances at night for deliveries or other emergencies. Staff housing will also help attract doctors and other medical staff to the remote village of Mattru.  the final phase will be a sorely needed Central Medical Supply Storeroom.


Although stoutly built in 1965, the hospital has rarely had funds for maintenance and upgrades. After our initial asessment trip, it became clear that the first priority would be to create sanitation systems for the pediatric ward as well as the administration building. This involved the construction of two cesspits, one to serve the administration building, and one for the pediatric ward. 

New restrooms for men, women and mothers with infants were to be created along with sinks to wash hands, also to be used by the staff. A plan was made for the construction of the restrooms, and related systems for the pediatrics ward and the administration building.

The EWB Lehigh Valley Professionals’ 5-year Mission at the Mattru Jong Hospital, for sustainable infrastructure for the hospital complex included the following key elements:

  1. Sanitation systems for the pediatric ward and administration buildings. 

  2. Refurbish The International House as staff housing for staff midwives and their families, who cannot travel to the hospital for night deliveries. The staff housing will be our biggest project at the hospital and require two trips with four members.

  3. Construct a Central Medical Supply Storeroom. Currently, supplies are scattered all over the hospital, often exposed to the elements or creatures. Management of the supplies is greatly hampered by the lack of one strategically located storeroom and the lack of a management plan. EWB is constructing the storeroom and working with the hospital administration on detailed stores management plan.
Today, the sanitation portion of the project is complete, as is the refurbishment of The International House to serve as much needed staff housing. Housing is challenging in Mattru Jong, and having an on site residence will go a long way to retain staff. The above depicts Mattru Jong locals putting in the hard work preparing the vital staff housing.


After our initial assessment trip, it was decided that the the first priority was to the restroom sanitation situation, and plans were drawn up for new restrooms and the overall system. Two cesspits have been constructed for each of the new bathrooms, which are tiled, very clean and also have sinks for hand washing and water fountains. Watch a time lapse video of the construction of the sanitation system for the administration building.

Today, the work on the international house is complete and is being utilized as staff housing.

Construction of the training room and training key staff personnel in Excel.


Abdul Karim Mustapha, Director of Mattru Jong Hospital, symbolically receives the keys to the hospital. Abdul was installed as hospital Administration in 2019 after serving as the business manager for the water and solar power at the hospital.

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As head of the UBC Church in Sierra Leone, Bishop Pessima, is responsible for the both the Centennial Secondary School, and is also the Board Chairman for the Mattru Hospital. Having developed a great relationship with Bishop Pessima during our work at CSS, we were very excited about working with him at Mattru Hospital. He has been very supportive of all our work in Mattru.

As with all of our projects, we provide the engineering know-how, planning and project management, and the local people do the often very hard manual labor in the heat of the day. So many come out to help us, and help thier community. As stated before, our chapter has a special relationship with Mattru Jong, and more projects are contemplated.


Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Lehigh Valley Professional Chapter of Engineers Without Borders has been severely challenged, as most of us have been. Our fundraising to do this work has also suffered. Would you consider a personal donation, or would you ask your employer? Without help from generous-minded people like you, the work grinds to a halt. We are currently still working in Mattru Jong on the restoration and expansion of the hospital, which will benefit many people.