The Mattru Jong hospital has got a face lift thanks to the First Lady Sia Koroma and Mrs Isatu Timbo Nwokedi based in California USA.
Recently Mrs. Sia Koroma and Nwokedi visited the Matru Jong Hospital in the Southern Province. Their visit came as a follow up of the First Consultative Forum for traditional and religious leaders organized last November by her office in collaboration with UNFPA and the ministry of Health and Sanitation. The forum was part of efforts to reduce maternal and infant mortality in Sierra Leone.
The First Lady was accompanied to Matru Jong by one of her donors Isatu Timbo Nwokedi based in California USA. Isatu Timbo last year sent a forty foot container worth over a hundred thousand dollars medical equipment. Mrs. Nwokedi has sent another forty foot container this year which Matru, Rokunlan and The Princess Christian Hospital will benefit from. Isatu Timbo has committed to work with the First Lady in her efforts to reduce the high maternal mortality by 30% by 2010.
In a meeting with Paramount Chiefs at the Matru Jong Court Barry, the First Lady highlighted the negative effect the high maternal mortality rates has on the country’s human development and has consistently contributed in earning the unenviable bottom position on the UNDP Human Development Index.
The First Lady highlighted some influential non-medical factors such as attitudes and behaviors regulated by our cultures and traditions that are responsible for the high statistics of maternal and infant death. She called on the traditional and religious leaders to work concertedly in overturning bad attitudes and behavior that cause fatalities.
Mrs. Koroma added that her office through the Danke Koroma Foundation will focus on charitable activities to raise revenue and profile for the Matru Hospital and the people of the community.
She informed the traditional leaders that her office had secured funds through UNFPA for the Maternity Ward of the Matru Hospital to upgrade it to “a center of excellence.”
The Matru Hospital was built and run by the United Brethren in Christ (UBC) mission. It used to be one of the best hospitals in the country which attracted patients from neighbouring Guinea and Liberia for medical treatment. According to local authorities, the hospital currently serves over one hundred and thirty thousand people on the Bonthe mainland.
Meanwhile, the First Lady on Saturday attended the second graduation ceremony of over sixty State Registered Nurses of the Matru School of Nursing with the theme “Safe Motherhood: A Challenge for Professional Nurses”. Delivering her keynote address, she congratulated the nurses and encouraged them to give back to their communities and country at large. She called on the nurses to be role models in their communities and meet to their challenges to secure safe motherhood in their communities. The First Lady called on the new graduands to ensure they give the right information to people for them to make the best choices for their health.
Mrs. Koroma also visited the Kpanda Kemoh Chiefdom Matru Jong in the Bonthe district. In a meeting with Paramount Chief Madam Melrose Foster Gberrie III, the First Lady thanked her and her people for their warm welcome and informed the chief that the Office of the First Lady had set up a Health Insurance Scheme to help support pregnant women in the rural areas with transportation to attend clinic. She said Kpanda Kemoh Chiefdom will benefit from the scheme. She also reiterated the importance of supporting pregnant women to safe delivery in hospitals.
Rev. Billy Simbo is the UBC Bishop and Chairman of the Medical Board UBC.
He thanked the First Lady and team for the venture to rehabilitate the maternity ward of the Matru Hospital . He mentioned that the hospital is in dire need of support to run its affairs. He said there was poor utilization of the medical facilities in the Bonthe district because of the long distance.
Dr. Sarti Keneh is the head of the District Health Medical Team. He said the health system in Bonthe District was very challenging and crucial in the fight against the high maternal and infant mortality in the country. He described the hospital as having only one medical facility in the main land without no doctor, midwife and nurse. He described the high maternal deaths as alarming in the district due to delay. He said as a training hospital, there should be mechanisms in place to have effective maintenance of the system.
Chief Alieu Badara Sheriff the III is the Paramount Chief of Jong Chiefdom, Bonthe District. He said Bonthe District was the most deprived in the country. He said they lacked medical facilities, education and agriculture. Chief said Bonthe has a vast and fertile land for agriculture. Chief Aliue Badara Sheriff said the First Lady’s venture marked another mile stone to Matru Hospital as it came at a crucial moment in the lives of women and children in Matru. He said the paramount chiefs would support the First Lady in her venture in reducing maternal mortality as the district needed development. The Matru Hospital was built and run by the United Brethren in Christ (UBC) mission. It used to be one of the best hospitals in the country which attracted patients from neighbouring Guinea and Liberia for medical treatment. According to local authorities, the hospital currently serves over one hundred and thirty thousand people on the Bonthe mainland.
By Abibatu Kamara