In a bid to identify areas of further assistance and to familiarize himself with the Nigerian medical personnel in the health sector of the Northern province, the Nigerian High Commissioner to Sierra Leone Chief Godson O. Echegile spent the weekend visiting several towns and villages in the North.
The visit, which began in Magburaka on Saturday August 23rd, saw the town’s Government Hospital medical superintendent Dr. Kargbo conducting a tour for the envoy around the facilities, explaining their operations and constraints.
Dr. Kargbo who was accompanied by the District Medical Officer Dr. Samuel Keitell and other top personnel of the center bemoaned, among other things, the lack of toiletries, bed sheets, ultra sound machines for the maternity, gynecological beds and the inadequate supply of electricity from the complex’s generator.
Requests of assistance in as many areas and manpower were extended to the envoy who took special interest in the case of a Fourah Bay (Freetown) teenager, Isha King who was abandoned at the hospital by her relatives.
A Nigerian personnel at the hospital, Dr. Ugwu Nnanna Uka told Chief Echegile that while the young girl’s relatives had given up on her, the hospital had patiently traced her condition to tropical ulcer and that she would soon receive skin grafting and would be able to return to school after 18 months in the hospital.
At the lunch in the residence of Dr. Uka (and the 3 Nigerian nurses at the hospital) Constituency 59 Member of Parliament, Hon. Mohamed A. Tarawallie noted that he was elated to witness the “groundbreaking event of a High Commissioner of the great Nigeria visiting Magburaka.”
While thanking Nigeria for the intervention in the health sector, the MP sought the envoy’s help in other areas.
The High Commissioner who promised more of Nigeria’s presence in the township advised the MP not to relent in demanding similar help from Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora.
A royal reception was accorded the Nigerian envoy few hours later when traditional dancers and other entertaining groups welcomed him at the gate of the St. John of God Hospital Mabesseneh, Lunsar.
Hospital Director Rev. Bro. Peter L. Dawoh who took Chief Echegile on tour of the complex boasted that the center founded 40 years ago continues to be one of the best in the country and had just received accreditation to run a school of nursing.
Rev. Dawoh who was full of praises for the Nigerian midwife at the hospital sought the assistance of the envoy to help with tutors at the nursing school which he said already has an enrolment of 40 students from across the country.
Chief Echegile who could not stop beaming at the giant sheep presented to him told his audience in the jam-packed hall including the Paramount Chief and MP Hon. A. O. Daramy that he was greatly touched by the warm and colourful reception.
The envoy noted that Nigerian’s colossal contribution; including the loss of lives of over 600 Nigerian soldiers, to the peace campaign in Sierra Leone was a worthy response to a sister nation in a dire situation, while promising to make substantial contributions, especially in manpower, to the hospital.
His Excellency Chief Godson O. Echegile departed Makeni after a well deserved rest at the prestigious Wusum Hotel and headed for Kamakwei.
During the courtesy call on Paramount Chief Kandeh Lusseini III at his court barray, the envoy was told that his visit was indeed historic. The traditional ruler noted that he was greatly gratified by Nigeria’s method of assistance, which is mainly in teaching fishing more than serving fish.
He sought the envoy to also consider helping Kamakwei and the entire Sella Limba Chiefdom in other areas including secondary school teachers where qualified Sierra Leoneans have maintained a distance because of the remoteness of his domain.
The envoy who promised to consider the request of the Chief including investment in the district’s abundant deposit of gold and diamond, had earlier been led on a conducted tour of the Kamakwei Wesleyan Hospital founded in 1959.
The Kamakwei Hospital administrator, L. A. Conteh who applauded the performance of the 2 Nigerian nurses attached to the hospital told Chief Echegile that as the only referral hospital at that end of the country, the staff, including American personnel, Dr. Charles Bierson, are kept busy while calling on the envoy to continue Nigeria’s assistance to the hospital, more so when the NGO Health Unlimited had discontinued its support to the maternal unit of the hospital since March.
The High Commission’s minister, F. A. Fompun, consular A. K. Balogun and the Newday Magazine publisher Sule Musa accompanied Chief Echegile who replicated the visitations to similar sites in both Makeni and Kabala.
By Saidu Bah