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New Jersey honors one of its own, new Deputy Health Minister Hon. Madina Rahman

New Jersey honors one of its own, new Deputy Health Minister Hon. Madina Rahman

The All People’s Congress (APC ) New Jersey Chapter , the Fourah Bay Community  and the Sierra Leone Community of New Jersey (SLC NJ ) last Saturday  staged an honoring program for the Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, Hon. Madina Rahman, who is on official duty to the United States. (Photo: The high table . From right : Dr. Abdul Rahman Kamara, Mr. Pavi Jalloh, Minister Plenipotentiary Kabs Kanu , Minister Madina Rahman and Mr. Lamin Alharazim, the Chairman of SLCNJ)

Madina Rahman lived in New Jersey before she was first appointed Consultant  in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in 2013  and then Deputy Minister last year. Therefore, on her very first official visit to the U.S. after her ministerial appointment , New Jerseyans rallied to stage a befitting program for her to show their delight for her elevation and also acknowledge her community activism while she lived in the State.

Deputy Health Minister Madam Madina Rahman takes the podium to address the program

Deputy Health Minister Madam Madina Rahman takes the podium to address the program

All three organizations, who co-sponsored the occasion,  awarded the Minister plaques, commending her for her community service with these organizations when she lived in New Jersey before her appointment and for her service to the nation as Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation.

The program was huge , with the hall jammed to capacity and statements were read by the Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Nations and Coordinator of the African Union Committe of 10 ( C-10) on UN Security Council Reform , Rev. Leeroy Wilfred  Kabs-Kanu;  the President of the APC New Jersey Chapter , Mr. Pavi Jalloh and the Deputy Health Minister herself  , Hon. Madina Rahman , while the Secretary General of the APC New Jersey Chapter , Mr. Alimamy Turay,  served as the Master of ceremony. The welcome address was made by Dr. Abdul Rahman Kamara , a distinguished pharmacist and member of the APC.

Minister Madina Rahman expressing thanks after receiving the plaque from the Sierra Leone Community of NJ

Minister Madina Rahman expressing thanks after receiving the plaque from the Sierra Leone Community of NJ

Hon . Madina Rahman was given  a tremendous welcome , attesting to the fact that the New Jersey organizations she served before her new job , appreciated her appointment as minister in the Government of Sierra Leone, which itself is a demonstration of the fact that President Ernest Bai Koroma acknowledges the outstanding support his government continues to receive from the New Jersey community . In addition, the appointment demonstrated  President Koroma’s  desire to empower women in the governance structure of Sierra Leone.

Ms. Rahman was commended by various speakers and the officials who, on behalf of their organizations,  presented each plaque for her impressive community involvement and participation in New Jersey and her performance in government, especially in the determined fight to defeat the Ebola scourge. They described her appointment as one of the best President Koroma has made, based on Ms. Rahman’s qualifications.

Madam Rahman used the occasion to give eager New Jerseyans a full update on the present Ebola and health infrastructure situation in Sierra Leone, including plans by government to build upon the new health infrastructure being put together in the country to fight  the ebola plague that will ensure that Sierra Leone has  one of the best health care systems in Africa. The initiatives, according to the minister,  include a 500 bed hospital that will be constructed at Jui and the creation of an ambulance service in all the districts of the country. She said that from few ambulances, Sierra Leone has  150 now and the country can now boast of  32 ebola holding centers and treatment centers, in addition to 13 diagnostic centers which will ensure that Sierra Leone is  not taken unawares any more by any health crisis.

The minister delighted the crowd when she said that though ebola has a minimal survival rate, Sierra Leone can now boast of a 75% survival rate. The minister attributed this very high  survival rate of ebola to the fact that  they, the health providers, adopted their own protocols , besides the WHO-sanctioned ones , which rendered further help to the patients. These additional protocols were necessary, she said,  because people from abroad “did not like touching our patients “.

The diagnostic centers will be privatized and her Health Minister, Dr. Abubakarr Fofanah,  is determined to raise the medical school to postgraduate level. Connaught Hospital is not only going to be cleaned up , she went on, but it will be developed to the point that patients will no longer need to  carry bed sheets or personal clothing to the hospital when admitted . From one, Sierra Leone now has 6 psychiatric doctors operating in the country, she said and the government has also recalled retired doctors and local medical practitioners who had gone abroad,  to help solve this health crisis.

The government also ensured that Sierra Leoneans were employed in the holding and treatment centers , instead of mainly foreigners, with the result that 600 Sierra Leoneans have now gained employment.

Minister Rahman said that government funded the ebola fight from its own coffers when it started before international involvement , but whatever funds the international community provided, they made sure that they monitored it fully.

Minister Plenipotentiary and C-10 Coordinator , Mr. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs Kanu , who lamented that Ebola came to Sierra Leone like a thief in the night, gave a comprehensive report of the initiatives President Ernest Koroma and the government had embarked on since the Ebola outbreak which have started paying dividend , with the dramatic reduction in the rate of new transmissions of the virus . He also outlined all the development projects President Koroma had undertaken  under the Agenda For Change and the Agenda For Prosperity before Sierra Leone was struck by the Ebola virus . He said he was detailing these socio-economic and political developments to make Sierra Leoneans know that there is hope. He said that President Koroma was anxious to end the outbreak so that he would  continue the development projects from where he was stopped by ebola.President Koroma, he said, is determined to leave them a Sierra Leone they will be proud of at all times.

The C-10 Coordinator  thanked everybody in New Jersey for the support they had given the nation since the ebola outbreak , stating that it was in appreciation of their efforts that he always dragged  himself out of his home , even when very sick, to attend these meetings , to demonstrate that the government appreciates what they are doing. “You do not receive salaries. You use your own monies sacrificially to organize these programs to help create international awareness of the nation’s plight and help mobilize resources for the ebola fight . If no government official shows face to give you moral and financial support during these programs , it will leave a bad taste in your mouths that the government is marginalizing you and not recognizing  your efforts and this will discourage you .This is why whatever my health situation, I always do my best to honor your invitations to attend your ebola programs, so that you know that President Koroma and the  government appreciate what you are doing for your country , which will  encourage you to sacrifice more “, Minister Kanu told the New Jersey community .

It must be emphasized  that Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the U.S, H.E. Bockarie Kortu Stevens, his deputy Ambassador Ibrahim Conteh  and the Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Mr. Amadu Koroma have also left their very busy schedules in the past to attend events in New Jersey to demonstrate government’s support to the community.

Mr. Pavi Jalloh enumerated all the contributions Madina Rahman made in the New Jersey community and the determination of government to end the ebola outbreak. He and Alimamy Turay said that Madina Rahman was very helpful and always ready to sacrifice for the upbuilding of the society. He thanked President Koroma for appointing Madam Rahman and ushering New Jersey into celebratory mood for the new year.

The opening prayers were rendered by Alfred Bai Kuyateh ( Christian ) and Alhaji Alieru Bakarr ( Muslim ) .

Other personalities , as well as officials of the APC present included the former Chairman of the then APC North America Branch, Mr. Leslie Allen, the New Jersey APC  Women’s activist  , Madam Kadija Jalloh; the APC NJ Women’s Leader, Mrs. Namina Bomposseh Kosay; the Financial Secretary, Mr. Edward Koroma; Treasurer, Mr. Francis Kanu, Assistant Social Secretary-designate, Mr. Donald Cline-Thomas; Assistant Secretary-designate Muctarr Bah; Youth Leader-designate Mr. Cornelius Manages; key members Madam Susan Bona, Mr. Santigie Koroma, Mr. Muctarr Alghali, Mr. John Samba, Mrs. Memuna Samba, Assistant Women’s Leader, Musu Panguma Tarawallie ,   etc.etc. A very active community activist , Engineer Melbourne Garber, travelled all the way from New York to attend the occasion. Also present were Messrs Ben Jalloh, Adebayo Davies, Freddy Davies, Mr. Hindolo Barnett etc.

The  closing prayers were made by Rev. Kabs-Kanu and Alhaji Bakarr.

Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, Cocorioko.net

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