The main peripheral health center in Pendembu some 17 miles to Kailahun Township is without bedding facilities as the patients were discovered hopeless lying on the bare floor while the entire ward is colonized by offensive urine and human toilet smells.
Even though the nurse in charge of the health center in Pendembu Margaret Lucia Bockarie seemed to be protecting the position of her employer by dodging the stark reality on the ground the Awoko team on a tentative visit to the hospital was set aback when we entered the hospital and discovered only one functional ward with one dilapidated tiny bed and urine all over the floor.
It was unbelievable to see the only two patients in the hospital prostrating on the bare floor dumb and motionless as if there was no one to look after them. I tried to talk to one of the patients Mustapha Koroma who was occupying the dilapidated bed to ascertain his medical fitness but he could only nod his head.
His wife Mariama confirmed to this press that her husband was an indigene of Pendembu lower Bambara chiefdom who was brought to the only available health center to respond to high fever and bodily pains all over his body.
She pointed out that her husband was getting treatment but his condition remained unchanged.
As if the first case was not serious, when I took a look at the other end of the room I discovered another aged man who was said to be a native of Pendembu named Sao Abdulai lying almost naked on the hospital floor motionless, but his wife Hawa confirmed that he was responding to medical treatment with no improvement seen.
The nurse in charge of the health center said they give out treatment to patients including bed nets to those who come to them. She said they get support from government but could not specify the type of support they get from government.
Talking on the non-availability of furniture, she said Save The Children NGO used to support them with furniture but that the furniture had been damaged saying that they have presented their case to both government and Save The Children NGO for possible intervention.
Many people I spoke to on the current status of the Pendembu hospital expressed disappointment at the past SLPP government which have natives of Pendembu such as former President Kabbah, former Speaker of Parliament S M Kutubu and Dr. Sama Banya at the helm of things who could have used their political influence to provide that community with a modern health facility.
Pendembu is one of the biggest chiefdoms in the Kailahun district strategically located along the main Kenema Kailahun trunk road linking Sierra Leone to both Guinea and Liberia.
By Solomon Rogers