December 15, 2016 By Emmanuel Okyne (Intern)
Councillor of Ward 13, Constituency 04 in the Kailahun district, has lamented that poor road network was responsible for the slow implementation of the free healthcare scheme in the district.
Mariama Lavaley disclosed at a recent consultative meeting organised by Network Movement for Democracy and Human Rights at Kissi Tongi Chiefdom that, the chiefdom has only one accessible Peripheral Health Unit.
According to her, free healthcare medical drugs usually take weeks to reach PHUs in the chiefdom and that such causes preventable deaths in the area.
Councillor Lavalie attributed some of the under-five deaths in the chiefdom to poor road network, which forces sick people to be transported on hammock because the ambulance service does not reach some of the communities.
Chiefdom Speaker of Kissy Tongi Chiefdom, Tamba Ansumana, commended Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) for providing funds to monitor the free healthcare initiative in the chiefdom.
He claimed that few months ago a truck load of free healthcare drugs from Freetown, meant for the chiefdom, was diverted elsewhere. He said they later learnt that the drugs were about to be taken to neighbouring countries it was intercepted by police officers.
He appealed to chiefdom residents to be part of the process and report any dubious activities that could undermine the free healthcare delivery in that part of the country.
Maternal Child Health Aide, Hawa Sawei of Buedu Community Health Centre said: “Free medication drugs are sometimes not delivered on time to PHUs within the chiefdom. Patients visiting the clinic usually cast blame on staff when drugs are not available.”
She disclosed that drugs such as paracetamol, syrups, syringes, and other essential drugs are not available at the health centre.
Samuel Jaia, who is the District Health Management Team (DHMT) Supervisor, urged members of NMDHR to work as a team in order to help the government achieve the goals set in the free healthcare initiative.
He noted that members of the DHMT were willing to work with the project in the four operational areas of Luawa, Kissi Teng , Kissi Tongi and Kissi Kama chiefdoms.
“The chiefdom has been under the spotlight for drugs theft,” he said.
Programme Coordinator of NMDHR, Abdul Habib, explained that the project would help raise awareness and ensure accountability for free healthcare drugs in the four chiefdoms.
He allayed the fears of community members that monitoring free healthcare drugs distribution was not a witch-hunt.