No Ambulance Service in Sierra Leone’s Rural Clinics
Sierra Express Media has discovered that with all the high number of ambulances kept at Cokeril in Freetown and elsewhere through the supervision of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS), many rural clinics are still going without effective ambulance services. (Photo credit: Globalville news)
On a fateful day last month, I travelled to the Northern Province, Makarie Gbantie Chiefdom in Bombali District when I spotted a pregnant woman who was struggling to deliver conveyed in a makeshift stretcher (Hammock) to the only health centre at Fullah town village.
I interrogated one of the victim’s relatives, Madam Mabinty Conteh who was running tears as to why people in that part of the country are still using hammock to carry sick people to the hospital? She replied that carrying sick people through makeshift stretchers is a usual practice among them because they have no access to ambulance service.
According to the worried woman, they have lost many important people through the process of using this archaic means of doing things as a result of the delay involved to walk on foot over three miles distance to the clinic adding that many villages are surviving under the only health centre at Fullah town village.
Hundreds of ambulances were donated to MOHS to quickly eradicate the Ebola outbreak which destroyed many lives, left many survivors and shattered the country’s economy but the million dollar question concerned citizens are asking is the essence for which those ambulances are parked at Cockeril while rural communities are dying every other day as a result of the absence of ambulance services in those areas.
In another development, despite the effort Government is making to strengthen the Free Health Care delivery system to meet targeted beneficiaries who include pregnant women, lactating mothers and under-five’s children, there challenges keep mounting especially among rural women that are complaining of not accessing the service as demanded by the Free Health Care initiative.
However, inhabitants of that part of the country are blaming officials in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation especially the Minister, Dr. Abubakarr Fofanah for not seeing reason why more robust monitoring mechanism is not put in place to effectively monitor the distribution of Free Health Care Drugs to various health centers and to make sure that ambulance services are decentralize in all rural clinics for village communities to equally benefit.
They are therefore calling on the initiator of the Free Health Care service, His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma to swiftly intervene to protect his legacy by revitalizing the management of FHC and ambulance service across the country to save more lives today, tomorrow and forever.
By Abdulai Mento Kamara
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