May 11, 2018 By Emmanuel Okyne
Network Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (NMDHR), with support from Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), has during a two -day tour of four communities in Kailahun district engaged local artistes in Luawa, Kissi Tongi, Kissi Teng and Kissi Kama chiefdoms on the benefits of the Free Health Care initiative in the district through a project titled “Community Monitoring for Accountable and Effective Service Delivery in the Health Sector.”
Speaking at the ceremony, National Coordinator Abdul Karim Habib encouraged the local artistes to use their talent to educate beneficiaries in the district on the significance of the Free Health Care Scheme.
The National Coordinator lauded the former Ernest Bai Koroma-led government on the FHC initiative, which was launched on 27th April 2010, adding that the initiative was a positive one that encouraged more pregnant women and under five children to access health facilities across the country.
He said despite numerous challenges, patients were accessing peripheral health units.
“Since government has changed, we are yet to know whether the scheme will continue under President Julius Maada Bio’s new dispensation,” he said.
Habib encouraged the artistes to produce songs that create awareness among people to make use of health facilities in the district.
He urged pregnant women in the project communities to visit health centres to avert complications, adding that it will help reduce the high rate of maternal and child mortality in the district.
He further appealed to the new government of Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio to continue the Free Health Care policy, adding that beneficiaries are in dire need of such facility.
He advised the government to review the processes and procedures of drugs distribution across the country in order to address late distribution.
The national coordinator emphasised that the objective of the project was to improve on the quality of public service in the health sector.
An elder in Luawa Chiefdom, Haja Kowa, encouraged community people to take ownership of the project, noting that they should serve as community mobilisers in their respective chiefdoms.
She further appealed to partners to replicate the project in other chiefdoms in the district, adding that the district was challenged despite numerous efforts by the government and donor partners.
Community Health Nurse Ann Marie Jusu of Kissi Kama Chiefdom admonished beneficiaries to visit clinics as the facility was meant for the inhabitants.
She pointed out that pregnant women are in the habit of visiting Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) instead of going to clinics.