The British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Guy Warrington and Vice-President Victor Foh were in Levuma, Kandu Lepeama Chiefdom, in the Kenema District to commission a solar system at the Levuma Health Clinic.
Renewable energy solar systems will be installed in 50 health facilities in 100 communities beginning with four health centres in the North and East. These facilities will serve as the pilot phase one, over four years under the “Lighting up rural Sierra Leone Programme”.
The British High Commissioner said he was honoured to be part of history. “With the U.K.s contribution to light up rural parts of the country, we are providing electricity, without which development will be very slow.”
He said, “Sierra Leone can be proud of being the first country to sign an energy Africa compact with the U.K., under which £34.5 million was pledged to the project to improve rural electrification, as part of UK’s £240 million commitment to Sierra Leone’s recovery.
Vice-President Foh stated, “Despite the challenges in governance to take development to every corner, the U.K. has been a trusted and committed friend helping to move the country forward through renewable energy, which is what the world is focused on.”
Community Health Officer, at the Levuma facility, Francis Lebbie, said, “The non-availability of electricity was a recipe for fatalities due to the long distance people have to walk to access the facility. It was always dark at night.” He added, “With this light, security will be better and we can use vaccine refrigerators and carry out basic laboratory tests.”
Juliet Sowa, a resident near Levuma, said she has three children; two were delivered at the facility and the third was delivered by a traditional birth attendant. “Because of distance to the Centre, it happened at home and if anything had happened I would not be here”. Sowa said if she has to bear another child she is assured of 24-hour electricity at the Centre and will have no fear to go the extra mile,” she smiled.
By Ade Campbell
Thursday April 13, 2017.