CEDA-donated ambulance wrecked … abandoned in Bonthe
The District Medical Officer of Bonthe Dr. Ibrahim Kargbo Labor, has through this medium exonerated himself of allegations that he is the one frustrating efforts for the maintenance of the already wrecked marine ambulance meant purely for referral of maternal cases from river rain communities in Bonthe District. The engine of the Community Empowerment and Development Agency [CEDA] donated sea ambulance according to Dr Labor, went off on the 20th February 2015 while on their way to Yorni for an emergency response two months after it was donated .It is however, worth learning that the ambulance in question was donated to the District Health Management [DHMT] in Bonthe by CEDA with funding from the European Union through the Tele-medicine project for maternal and child health initiative for five chiefdoms including Jong, Bendu -Cha, Sittia, Kwamebai Krim and Non-gorbabullom, ”but the ambulance had since been anchored six months ago following the incident at sea,” Kargbo Labor disclosed. Dr. Labor said a letter of request to CEDA for the maintenance of the ambulance was sent to the organization but to no avail even though it is clearly stated in the Memorandum of understanding between the Bonthe-DHMT and CEDA which highlights that both operational and maintenance expenses of the ambulance are the responsibilities of CEDA.
DMO I. Kargbo Labour discredited accusations that suggest he ignored a total sum of three million Leones [le 3,000,000] from the World Health Organization meant to repair the sea ambulance. Meanwhile, he went on to accuse the then WHO representative to Bonthe Dr. Francis Smart of writing a project proposal for the maintenance of the very ambulance without consulting his administration. Dr Smart denied knowledge of the allegation saying the idea to repair the ambulance was a unanimous decision taken by him and staff of DHMT in Bonthe including the Disease surveillance officer, Charles Lissa, the Finance officer and the DMO himself, following another breakdown of the ambulance during a health intervention by a team comprising staff of WHO and that of the DHMT.
Mr. Lissa a staff of the Bonthe DHMT told this press that his boss ”Dr Kargbo Labour was duly informed about the proposal in question, but still went ahead and deprived the masses in the district of quality and timely health service delivery by deliberately refusing to make arrangements for a mechanic to repair the boat on the grounds that he was not given the three million Leones in cash”.
Responding, the district focal person for the Community Empowerment and Development Agency [CEDA] Chernor Amidu Bah confirmed to this press that it is his organization’s obligation to maintenance the boat which they have heeded to only twice since the inception of the project. Mr. Bah made it clear that the delay was not the fault of his organization but purely the responsibility of the mechanics with whom they have a Memorandum of Understanding. He said the EU funded project will end in JULY, 2015 although he allayed the fears of residents of Bonthe that CEDA will stick on to its commitments regardless of that.
Despite efforts by the Government of Sierra Leone, Non -governmental Organizations to ease the problems of late referrals of maternal and child cases, it appears that the issues have not been meaningfully addressed as there is still room for more to be done if we must reduce the high infant mortality rate in the country.
Amara Brima reports from Bonthe
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