Photo: Dr. Alpah Wurie, Minister of Health and Sanitation
Eight Nurses Abandon Jawei Community Clinic for lack of pin code
By Ishmail S Bangura
All eight (8) nurses at the SWAKAB Community Clinic in Daru, Constituency 077, have abandoned the health centre, due to failure by the Kailahun District Health Management Team (DHMT) to provide them with pin codes that would have enable them to receive salaries like other civil servants in the country.
One of the nurses intimated that the night shift she has been working for at the clinic for two years without having salary to take home to feed her family of four is very frustrating for her. She said the decision to quit the clinic emanated from the fact that the facility is not even a beneficiary of the free health care. It does not have essential drugs to treat pregnant women, lactating mothers and under-fives.
Jacob Kailahun, Acting Manager of SWAKAB Community Clinic, told this medium that he was requested by the proprietress of the clinic to cover the day-to-day running of the facility. He disclosed that diarrhoea is on the increase as most patients turned up at the center with such complaints.
The Manager reported that the facility is currently not attending to delivery cases due to the unavailability of nurses. Pregnant women continue to turn up at the center only to be disappointingly notified that the services are no longer provided at the facility.
Proprietress of SWAKAB, Madam Isata Swarray, also told this medium that she felt disappointed because her health centre is not among those covered by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. She expressed this disappointment against the impact the clinic has created in the Jawei Community, which has a population of over 40,000 mainly women and children.
She disclosed that all efforts to have the District Medical Officer in Kailahun to approve the clinic and award pin codes to the nurses have proven fruitless, to the point that the dedicated nurses had to leave for greener pastures.
Madam Isata Swarray has called on the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Alpha Wurie, to facilitate the supply of free health care commodities, clean and safe delivery at her clinic, noting that she has been singlehandedly managing the clinic out of her desire to provide safe delivery services in her home district.
She said her establishment of the clinic was born from her desire to provide women and children with quality health care services, noting that the health centres, she established in Kono and Devil Hole in the Western Rural District, were approved and they are getting the free medical supplies uninterruptedly.
However, the Paramount Chief of Jawie, PC Musa Kallon, also expressed the need for attention to be paid to the clinic and college. He promised to provide land for the construction of the clinic and the SWAKAB College of Health Science and Management.
In another development, over one hundred students have matriculated at the above mentioned College and, according to the Acting Principal, Momodu Momoh, the College offers courses meant to augment and boost the health sector of the country.
In his statement, Chairperson of the matriculation ceremony, held few days ago, Dr. Max B Massaquoi called on the matriculants to take their courses seriously so that they will be in the position to transform society after their academic struggles.
Sierra Leone health profile is deplorable as most citizens, including women and children, do not have access to basic medical services and the situation is even worse as one gets into the provinces. The country is the worst place in the world to deliver a child. The death rate among under-fives remains the highest in the world even after the introduction of the Free Health Scheme almost a decade ago.
The health sector is plagued by lack of qualified doctors and the requisite infrastructure and equipment.The death toll among citizens remains high.