Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – Musu Musa, a 50-year-old resident of Waterloo in the Western Rural District, faced medical challenges after being diagnosed with thyroid issues, leading to the loss of her initial marriage due to financial constraints. Unable to afford private healthcare, Musu, engaged in petty trading, and her husband, unemployed at the time, struggled to access medical facilities.
Speaking to Awoko Newspaper just before a cost-free operation at Christ the King Hospital in Waterloo on January 16, 2024, Musa shared her journey. Despite the divorce, Musu remarried, but financial struggles persisted with her second husband, both being low-income earners.
The Helping Hands Development Salone Foundation, led by Nurse Rebecca Kasprick from Canada, came to Musu’s aid, offering her a free surgery. Nurse Kasprick and her team have been providing complimentary surgeries in various Sierra Leonean hospitals over the years.
Expressing her gratitude, Musu stated, “I am particularly pleased that the surgery is free and there are medical experts handling it. I am hopeful that I will come out of the operating room alive.”
In the hospital compound, many Sierra Leoneans with various illnesses had gathered, creating a sombre atmosphere.
Nurse Kasprick explained that her foundation focuses on general surgical cases, including appendectomies, lumpectomies, thyroid procedures, glaucoma, among others. The team aimed to treat 50 patients from across Freetown during this visit.
Musu Musa had been grappling with her condition for the past two years. Despite not being selected for the operation on her last visit, she maintained hope and trust in God to overcome her illness.
Regarding the selection process for the 50 patients, Nurse Kasprick highlighted that those with the most severe conditions would be given priority. The foundation has shipped drugs that will arrive later in the month.
Nurse Kasprick clarified that the foundation doesn’t have a dedicated hospital, explaining their mobility from one hospital to another. Funding primarily comes from her and Nurse Fatima Fornah, an anaesthetist in the U.S., who both raise funds to support the vulnerable class. Kasprick emphasized, “You don’t have to be rich to help people.”
Engaging in philanthropic work since 2008, Nurse Kasprick remains determined to continue despite some challenges. Nurse Fatima Fornah, based in the U.S., assists with patient selection and ensures their fitness for surgery. She expressed her pleasure in this work and plans to pursue it full-time after retiring from her permanent job in the U.S.
Dr. Nathaniel Williams, the Medical Superintendent at Lumley Government Hospital, where the surgeries take place, highlighted the challenges faced due to a shortage of electricity. Despite this, he commended the hospital management for accommodating the team. SKS/17/1/2024