June 9, 2017 By Lemuella Tarawallie
Residents of Manowo Section in the Gbonkolenken Chiefdom, Tonkolili District, are crying over the unavailability of a local ferry at Tyeyia River which they say is hindering education and the Free Health Care (FHC) scheme.
Speaking to this reporter during the Maternal and Child Health week (Mami en Pikin Welbodi week) implemented by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and funded by the United Kingdom (UK) Government; Ishmail B Kanu said their local ferry had been redundant for the past two months.
Mr Kanu said school children and pregnant women, wanting to cross over the Tyeyia River which separates Yele and Manowo section, sometimes found it difficult and cumbersome. He said school children, in most cases, had to wait till 9am every day before they could access canoe and cross the river to their respective schools.
He stated that the major challenge had been that of crossing the river with pregnant women, especially in referral cases during pre-labour time.
Mr Kanu appealed to the Government and donor partners to come to their aid in order for them to be able to access the ferry frequently.
Abukarr Turay, a Class Four pupil of the Adventist Primary School at Manwo section, said the ferry’s unavailability had really affected their schooling. He added that in most cases, they missed half of their first periods for the day.
Turay said it had always been challenging to cross river without any life jacket. He said they had called on their Honourable, Abdul D. Sesay of Constituency 063, yet nothing had been done.
Yele’s Community Health Officer, David C. Conteh, said there were sixteen catchment areas that access the Yele Community Health Centre by crossing the Tyeyia river.
Mr Conteh said crossing the river, especially at mid night during pre-labour period, had always remain a daunting challenge. He added that most of the reported illness of under-five children and pregnant women was that of malaria, noting that their health register was full of malaria cases though they had other cases like pneumonia and rash, but that malaria remained the most prevalent one.
He said government was working through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to ensure a safe environment. He concluded by assuring the community people that as health workers, they would continue to ensure that the bed nets reach the beneficiaries.