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Sierra Leone News: Gbendebu, Halen town, Thunder hill, Rokupa communities in need of safe drinking water

More than six communities within the Western Rural and Urban District have disclosed they are in dire need of proper sanitation, Peripheral Health Units (PHU) and educational facilities.
Their plea was made during the two District Service Summits held at the Western Rural District Council and the Freetown City Council on Tuesday 30 and Wednesday 31 January 2018, respectively.
The Summit was organized by SEND Sierra Leone with support from UK aid through Christian Aid on the SABI project and attracted major community stakeholders including Chiefs, youth leaders, women leaders, disabled and the service providers.
The aim of the Summit was to create a level playing field for the community people to express their concerns and challenges to the appropriate service providers so that they can find a way of addressing their concerns.
Making his presentation on behalf of Ward 408 Rokupa Community, Former Councilor, Sheku Alhassan Gibril Turay, disclosed the entire community only has one public toilet that was provided by Latter Day Saints.
He maintained that the Wharf community alone has about 10,000 residents that rely on the seaside to ease themselves. There is no government school or government assisted schools for their children to attend.
On the area of health facilities, he maintained that they have the Rokupa Government hospital but the catchment communities around find it difficult to access the facilities.
The youth leader at Gbendubu community in Ward 332 York Rural, Lahai Mansaray, shared similar experiences as those with Rokupa, adding that the water runs through their community but they do not have access to it and that there is no PHU in the entire community.
The other major issue that stood out in the Summits is the unavailability of an Ambulance in the community PHU’s, which, according to Emmanuel Justine Margai representing Ward 343 Kissi Town in Waterloo, has led to many deliveries on the road by pregnant women.
He said lack of adequate drugs is affecting the smooth operations of the PHU and the Free Health Care initiatives, explaining that most of the schools around lacks adequate learning and teaching materials together with unapproved teachers.
The issue of healthcare facilities cut across most of the communities and according to M.M. Kamara from Thunder Hill, they need to move down to Lowcost or Rokupa government hospital to access medical facilities, which is very challenging as they are living in mountain communities with very poor and deprived people.
According to Hannah Bockarie, representing the Ministry of Education, on the issue of unapproved teachers, she disclosed there are procedures to follow and the Ministry of Finance has a major role to play in that light as they will give the go ahead to hire.
She disclosed that many people are now opening schools as business places to exploit the masses, which is why the Education Ministry find it very difficult to manage.
Saffa Kanneh, representing the Health Ministry, admitted that they are aware about the attitude of health workers across the country, which is why Health for All Coalition is currently undertaking a monitoring exercise across the country.
By Alhaji M. Kamara
Thursday February 01, 2018.

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