Sierra Leone: Saffie Lusine wins ‘Mami en Pekin Welbodi Worker’ Award
Save the Children International, a non profit making organization, registered in England and Wales, last year launched the ‘Mamie en Pekin Welbodi Worker Award’ to showcase the profile of health workers and encouraging the public to value and appreciate the indispensable work they do. (Saffie Lusine accepting her award from Sierra Leone’s First Lady, Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma)
Health workers were nominated from every district in Sierra Leone and the names of those nominated were then put into a national vote. An amazing woman Saffie Lusine emerged the winner. She’s a Maternal and Child Health Aid from Bonthe District, one of the most remote areas in the country with the poorest health indicators. Saffie had rendered 28 years of service that includes 8 years as a health volunteer in rural and hard to reach communities. Initially, she had invested her own resources in the project and making long trips to communities without accessible roads to bring medical help vital to the survival of those who need it.
Without any help, Lusine started running a small clinic in her district, providing beds, tables and chairs. Down the road she donated the facility to the community that became their first health clinic. She later advocated for additional resources that would accommodate a growing need for health services. That was how the Matru Jong Community Health Center was born. It could now boast of a labor room, consultation room, weighing section, antenatal section and drug store.
Part of Saffie’s award includes erecting a large billboard with her picture posted on it in her hometown Bonthe, in southern Sierra Leone. This will serve as exemplary inspiration for other health workers and workers in various vocations around the country to emulate her.
It’s the all ‘hands on deck’ approach and people like Saffie that really helped in reducing the high infant mortality rate by half, not just government policies and its aggressive campaign. First Lady, Mrs. Sia Koroma presented the award.
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