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Magbenteh hospital gets $150,000 worth solar power

Magbenteh hospital gets $150,000 worth solar power

The Magbenteh Community Hospital situated in the northern provincial headquarter town of Makeni, and operated by the Swiss-Sierra Leone Development Foundation (SSLDF), has become the first hospital in the country to enjoy 24-hour solar-powered electricity with a voltage of 220.

The solar project, costing around $150,000 was made possible courtesy of the generous interventions of four German-based organizations namely: Solar World, SME, Hopeche and Helmulh Druiiger.

Since the installation of the giant solar panels and their accessories by German Technicians Erich Schielberg and Fred Belin, about a month ago, the hospital has seen non-stop electricity, with enough power to supply the entire complex and all necessary electrical appliances including air conditioners, lap-top and desk-top computers, printers, theater equipments and fridges for the blood bank.

Harald Pfeiffer, Philantropist , physiotherapist, and President of SSLDF

This has drastically reduced the operational cost of the hospital, whose German founder, Harald Pfeiffer, who also happens to be the President of SSLDF, maintained that “This solar project has given our operations as a humanitarian-based hospital a major boost”.

According to him, the hospital was spending a fortune on fueling the generators and on maintaining them, adding that, “That is now a thing of the past because I now go to bed without thinking of how to put on the generators the next day”. He calls it a blessing in disguise, noting that they used to ration electricity supply, thereby rendering the entire hospital compound in total darkness especially during the nights.

The Magbenteh Community Hospital currently hosts over 300 patients, and has contributed in no small way in tackling acute cases of malnutrition, malaria, typhoid fever, diarrhea and other complicated and life threatening diseases and infections in the Makeni general area and beyond. Scores of lives have been saved by the hospital, and many more continue to be saved. The hospital runs on a cost recovery basis, and no patient is given out; money or no money.

Giving a brief background of the hospital, Mr. Harald Pfeiffer, a philanthropist by nature and physiotherapist by profession, explained that it all started when he first visited Sierra Leone during the war years on assignment from the Adventist Church operated Clinique La Ligniere in Gland, Switzerland, where he served for 20 years and rose to the position of head of the physiotherapist department.

During the said visit, Mr. Pfeiffer noted that his mind and heart were opened to the enormous needs of a population that was lacking in almost everything, and was therefore inspired to assist in his own way by establishing a hospital with a therapeutic feeding component targeting mostly malnourished children and also a maternity component to help checkmate the high incidences of infant and maternal maternity.

Out of his own personal resources, Mr. Pfeiffer has paid the medical bills of scores of patients admitted at the hospital, and has sponsored tens of surgical operations on men with hernia, who cannot afford the cost of operation.

Mr. Pfeiffer referred to funding as a major challenge especially giving the influx of near cases everyday, and thanked the Lion-Heart Foundation Holland and Rotary Club Switzerland, for their efforts in burning the running costs of the hospital.

The hospital will soon get a VIP Ward, where experts will be available round the clock to effectively tackle certain acute or complicated ailments that otherwise need referral overseas.

Added to the hospital, Mr. Pfeiffer has recently established a village for 250 polio victims in Makeni, with free feeding and eight different workshops offering skills training opportunities ranging from tailoring, carpentry, gara tie dying and soap making, to name a few. The essence is to make them become self reliant, thereby changing their lives from perpetual beggars to useful citizens.

Just few days ago, the Swiss-Sierra Leone Development Foundation donated about eighty bags of rice to leprosy victims at Masanga and is also working on the possibility of targeting other vulnerable groups like the blind, within the Makeni community.

By Theophilus S. Gbenda

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  • I worked as Programme Manager for ADRA (Adventist Developpment & Relief Agency)from 1997 to 1998.

    I hve very high respects for their projects an find them to be very good and professional workers. I have been to the Magbenteh Hospital once in 2008 and have no doubt that they will deliver excellent services to the people of the north and other Sierra Leoneans that may require their services.

    I worked with ADRA for only one year but I have always remained to like them and wish to go back any time. I know Magbenteh Hspital will do greater things.

    20th September 2010

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