December 17, 2015 By Memunatu Bangura
A nurse in a remote part of northern Sierra Leone has told Concord Times the ordeals pregnant women and babies face to access limited free healthcare, adding that local health workers are also greatly constrained.
Zainab Koroma is nurse in-charge of the Kumala heath post in Neini chiefdom in the Koinadugu district. She says Neini chiefdom has a population of approximately 5,000 with the health post in Kumala the only health facility in the entire chiefdom.
She says the post is a single room with just one bed which serves as maternity and observation room.
“It was one elder in the community that asked us to use one of the rooms in his house as a clinic to serve the community,” she says, adding that for over three years she has not received any salary but that she has continued to serve in the interest of the community.
Speaking on their other challenges, Nurse Zainab says they lack pure drinking water, clean and hygienic toilet facility, while the health post has no ambulance or adequate staff.
However, she reveals that Oxfam and Medicin d’Mondule are constructing a new health centre complete with staff quarters.
A patient who regularly visits the health post to access free healthcare treatment for herself and baby, Aminata Kamara, narrates that she stays in a neighbouring village and walks for over two miles to access the health post.
She says pregnant women, the sick and aged are carried on a hammock over miles from neighbouring villages to access the community health post.
The government announced free healthcare for pregnant, lactating mother and under-five babies in 2010, but there is much to be desired in quality and accessibility especially in rural and remote communities like Kumala.