Samuel A Sheku Kargbo

Samuel Kargbo is a public health specialist and is the Director of Reproductive and Child Health in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in Sierra Leone.

After graduating as a medical doctor in the former Soviet Union, he practiced medicine for eleven years in several hospitals within this country, especially during the period of the civil war. He later studied for a Masters degree in Public Health from the Nuffield Institute, University of Leeds in the United Kingdom.

In 2000, he was the strategic leader responsible for the re-establishment of the health care delivery services in Kailahun district after the decade-long civil conflict. Work involved delivery of health services to vulnerable groups (pregnant women and children) trapped in rebel-controlled areas. Work also involved planning, implementing, monitoring, coordinating and evaluating Primary Health Care activities within a rebel-held zone.

In 2005 he was appointed District Medical Officer in the northern district of Koinadugu. There he was able to employ innovative ideas to transform the least developed district in the country that had the worst set of human development indicators.

Among the innovations he introduced are the Pregnant Woman Support Groups; a program that is based on a positive-deviant model, whereby a woman who has successfully given birth to healthy children is used as a trainer for women who are currently pregnant, The Village Savings and Loans scheme which started as a community health insurance scheme but has now been extended to education especially for girls, to agriculture and other social amenities. He also introduced the Birth Waiting Home as a strategy to eliminate the delay in reaching emergency obstetric care, which is a key contributing factor for maternal mortality.  

He was appointed Director of Reproductive and Child Health, where he became a leading Member of the Steering Group for Strategy, Vision and Governance and participated in the planning, inception and implementation of the Free Health Care Scheme for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five in Sierra Leone. He was also pivotal in the introduction of Maternal Death Reviews and pioneered the development of the Basic Package of Essential Health Services (BPEHS) for Sierra Leone. He has also supervised the development of the Resources Awareness for Population Impact on Development (RAPID) Model for advocacy to re-position family planning in Sierra Leone.

In 2011 he won the National Achievements (AWOL) Golden Jubilee Award as Medical Practitioner of the Year. In July 2013, he was awarded a Doctorate of Medicine (honoris causa) by the University of Leeds in the UK. He is married with three children.

Some of this work caught the attention of the International Press and below are the links to some of these publications.