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HRC expresses concern over closure of hospital & health center

SEPTEMBER 26, 2014 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

Health Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah
Health Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah

Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL) on Wednesday expressed strong concern over the sudden closure of the Ola During Children’s Hospital and the Lumley Health Center.

According to Brima Abdulai Sheriff, the Ola During hospital is a specialized clinic for children and that its closure will mean that basic processes for children to access will not be provided.

“We are very much concerned as a commission with regards the closure of Ola During Children’s Hospital and the Lumley Healthcare Center. Ola During is a specialized children’s clinic and therefore its continued closure is a child right issue because you will not be able to provide the basic processes for children to access although we know that children are being referred to the Connaught Hospital. This is not ideal,” Mr. Sheriff told Concord Times at his Tower Hill office in Freetown.

He explained that in the case of the Ola During Hospital, they gathered that its closure has to do with a suspected case of Ebola which was later verified, a development that led to doctors abandoning the hospital and the construction of a holding center just by the hospital.

He noted that the Lumley Healthcare Center was closed after the death of the first female doctor from the Ebola viral disease, Dr. Olivette Buck, early in September.

Commissioner Sheriff opined that they raised the issue in a meeting with the Deputy Director of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, who assured them that the Ola During hospital will be opened within the next one week as discussions are ongoing on that.

Commenting on what they have done since the Ebola outbreak in the country, the HRC-SL Chairperson noted that they are one of the institutions that did a tour to the epicentre districts of Kenema and Kailahun, as well as to other affected areas and came out with recommendations on what needs to be done in the areas of communication and stigmatization, among others.

“We are also able to monitor the state of public emergency declared by the President because at some point in time, there were some mixed messages as to whether the constitution has been suspended or not. But we were able to give the correct interpretation because of our professionalism. To a very large extent, there is compliance by Sierra Leoneans with regards the public state of emergency,” he noted.

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