November 9, 2017 By Emmanuel Okyne
Network Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (NMDHR) has engaged over 1,000 community people on the benefit of the Free Healthcare scheme during a four-day outreach programme in four chiefdoms in Kailahun district, beginning November 1.
The awareness raising programme took place in Luawa, Kissi Teng, Kissi Kama and Kissi Tongi chiefdoms with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), under a project titled ‘Community Monitoring for Accountable and Effective Service Delivery in the Health Sector’.
The Officer in Charge of NMDHR in Kailahun, Maguana Sheku Kallon, said the organisation was committed to facilitating healthcare service in the district, which has very bad road network that undermines access to peripheral health units.
He said relevant groups have benefitted from past free healthcare project with viable outcomes in the district, noting that it has increased the number of pregnant women and under-five children visiting antenatal care in the four operational areas in the district.
“The objective of the outreach is to engage beneficiaries of the free healthcare initiative in the district,” he said.
Kallon said the free healthcare was in existence in the community, and urged residents to utilise the facility, while he encouraged pregnant women and lactating mothers to serve as agents of change.
“If we are to achieve greatly in the reduction or eradication of maternal and child mortality in this part of the country, we must make use of the facility instead of giving birth at home,” he urged.
Organising Secretary of the Luawa Market Women’s Association, Theresa Vanjah, encouraged beneficiaries of the free healthcare initiative, including Ebola survivors and persons with disability, to use the facility efficiently.
She said the government of Sierra Leone and donor partners provided the free healthcare scheme for community people, thus appealing to beneficiaries to use the facility.
Madam Vanjah asserted that patients who use of the facility would help health workers track the prevalence of sicknesses in the district, adding that the rate at which women and children are dying is a concern.
District chairman for people with disability, Sellu Njiawa, appealed to his counterparts in the district to acknowledge their inclusion in the process. He also admonished people living with disability to visit health centres across the district to seek medical attention.