By Hassan Bruz (Northern Bureau Chief)….
The version on the establishment of an Emergency Hospital in the Northern District of Port Loko has not only been viewed as a great and timely intervention, but also as a unique opportunity that must be embraced by all well- meaning persons. This was deduced from the statements of the Stakeholders who availed their presence at the most recent meeting that was particularly summoned to deliberate on the issue.
The meeting which was held at the Office of the Port Loko District Medical Officer –Dr. Tom Sesay, was coordinated by the Resident Minister in charge of the Northern Region –Hon. Alie D Kamara. He said the purpose was for them to finalise and concretise arrangements for the establishment of the Emergency Hospital in that part of the country. He explained how deliberations on the issue were long ago, but that the programme was put to halt by the outbreak of the Ebola virus in the country. He said President Koroma is delighted to see the commencement of the Project especially now that the battle against Ebola is about to be won. The Resident Minister said Port Loko District has been chosen for this Project largely because of its strategic location and encouraged all to make proper use of the opportunity.
In his opening remarks as Chairman for the deliberations, Dr, Tom Sesay said he was very pleased to participate in the final stage of these arrangements. He said the decision to have selected Port Loko District for this Project cannot be a mistake, noting that Port Loko is the gateway to this country. He said it is a District that bears a population of over 600, 000, and is undeniably the highest after the National Capital of Freetown. He expressed optimism that the Emergency Hospital will significantly help to improve the Health sector in the District and the Country as a whole.
The Port Loko District Council Chairman – Ahmid Munirr Fofana the Senior District Officer-Abdul Mansaray and the District Ebola Response Centre Coordinator – Hon. Raymond Kabia, were some of the Key Stakeholders that were in attendance. They buttressed the fact that Port Loko is prominently located and is the District that links the rest of the country to the capital of Freetown. They therefore advised the inclusion of the District Medical Officer or his representative in the Panel of those that would conduct the interview for the recruitment of health workers at the Lokomasama Emergency Hospital.
Mr. Ruca Rolla is the Programme Coordinator for the Emergency Hospital in Sierra Leone and doubled as leader of the delegation to these final arrangements. His entourage included Mr. Simon F. Owen – the Logistician for the Lokomasama Branch of the Hospital and Madam Mirjama Ilic one of the Nurses. The Programme Coordinator started with a brief history of the Hospital which he said, operates on a 24 hours a day and 7 days a week bases. He said their activities include receiving of Patients from all the Hospitals in the Country. He said the Patients with either major or minor conditions will be provided with free of cost treatment as long as those Patients are admitted in the Hospital.
Mr. Rolla however said they will remain very mindful of the dos and don’ts of Ebola, citing the way and manner procedures were being observed at Laka where they operated an Ebola Holding Centre. He went further to state some of the prevailing challenges his Management faces at Lokomasama, and how they might debar his aims and aspirations if a solution could not be developed within the shortest possible time. He made a particular mention of the terrible road condition that leads to the Hospital in Lokomasama the need for both a reliable source of Electricity supply and an additional Ambulance for the Hospital. He disclosed that effective operations were slated to commence by the 15th November 2015 and appealed for prompt response. He said even though it is a 2 year project, there are possibilities for an extension of the programme if necessary.
The Resident Minister and the District Council Chairman promised to pick up the issue with the relevant authorities adding that the concerns were pertinent enough and should be addressed without further delay. The assurance for Community Support was made by Paul Santigie Sesay, Councillors Ahmed Kanu and Abdul Karim Koroma on behalf of the People of Port Loko District.