By Hassan Bruz
Northern Bureau Chief
The Magbain – gbainra Community which became famous for hosting the Oil Palm Plantation of the late Vice President Sorie Ibrahim Koroma experienced a dwindled status in the past 15 years with regards to development. As in the case of several other Rural Settings in the West African State of Sierra Leone, the Community became a highly deprived Area with almost nothing to boast of. The Roads to this Area were so horrible that it remains inaccessible especially during the Rainy Season. The Community could only boast of a few Primary Schools and Pupils who qualify for Secondary School Education would have to relocate to the District Headquarter Town of Port Loko or proceed elsewhere. This is particularly risky for the Girls who often get impregnated in their newfound homes.
The situation is much more horrifying in the health sector as there was only a single Health Post for about 22 Cartemente Areas with a population of over 5000 Inhabitants. This Health Post lacked a lot of basic amenities. For instance, it was without an Outpatients Ward or a Consultation Room. The Labor room was so tiny that it could not harbor more than a Patient at a go. There was also no accommodation for Nurses or Health Workers. Even the core Staff had to reside in private homes that are located miles away from the Facility.
As a result, Pregnant Women in Labor or anyone that falls unwell at night would have to bear up any excruciating pain till the following morning. Sadly enough, those whose ailments were that much serious would either trek to other distant places or succumb to what could be referred to as ‘untimely death’. Consequently, People were left with the only option of relying on ‘quack or Pepper Doctors’ for treatment when they were unwell. The situation was much more precarious for Pregnant Women. The bulk of them does not attend Clinics as they entirely depended on Traditional Birth Attendants to help them deliver.
It was this unspeakable situation that moved the now Chairman of the Port Loko District Council – Mr. Ibrahim Santigie Bangura when he visited the Area while drumming support from the Electorate to have him voted. Even though it could have remained just like the lots and lots of the unfulfilled promises often made by Politicians, Mr. Ibrahim Santigie Bangura viewed his promise as a social contract with those who voted him in office. It was the more reason why he did all that was humanly possible to ensure that his promise is fulfilled at all costs.
He has therefore been desperately seeking out ways through which funds could be raised for the construction of a modern Health Post at this highly populated area.
So the Inhabitants were amazed when a team of Engineers was dispatched to the Area on an assessment mission. All the huddles have eventually been handled and a modern Health Facility with enviable standards is now available for the Magbain- gbairia Community. The Construction of this Health facility has since been completed. As a matter of fact, it was recently commissioned and officially handed over to the Community. The Handing over ceremony was graced by a galaxy of Dignitaries including the Resident Minister in charge of the North West Region and the Port Loko District Medical Officer.
The new Health Facility comprised a spacious Labor room with Toilet, Postnatal room, Drugs Store, an Out-Patient Ward, an Office for the Nurses, an Outside Toilet, a Bathroom, an Outside Store and Kitchen. In a bid to ease the burden of Accommodation for the Core Staff at the Center, a 3 Room Building has also been constructed as a Staff Quarters with a Common Store and Inside Toilets. The Center is also provided with Solar Panels to service the Vaccination Refrigerator.
Mr. Rahman Tom Famar is the Outgoing Chief Administrator at the Port Loko District Council and one of the brains behind the construction of this Health Facility. He used the occasion to give a brief history of the project which he described as one of the most challenging Projects the Council has had. He said the project started way back in 2018 with a Contractor who fled after receiving a good sum of the agreed payment. He explained how the Council had to sort the Services of another Contractor as the entire Project was on the verge of collapse.
In his remarks, the Port Loko District Council Chairman – Mr. Ibrahim Santigie Bangura said Health is crucial in Community Development. He said his Administration had to go the extra mile not only because it is result-oriented and they would have been ashamed if the Project were to remain a white elephant, but largely because the situation at that Community was very much appalling. He said the former Structure was more of a death trap for both the Health Service Givers and those who went for Medical Treatment. Chairman Ibrahim Santigie Bangura, therefore, praised the C – Khan Construction Services for salvaging the situation from total collapse. He, therefore, admonished the Inhabitants to own the Facility and endeavor to protect the interest of the Staff and Workers at the Health Center.
The Nurse in Charge at the Magbain – gbaria Maternal and Child Health Post is Admire Sia Felli. She recalled the horrible condition in which they used to work with a particular reference to the unavailable accommodation. She said it was so much challenging for them as Health Workers especially when there was hardly anything to be proud of. She on behalf of her Colleagues thanked the Port Loko District Council and all those who contributed to providing them such a modern and enviable working environment. Similar thanks and appreciation were also made by several other speakers including the Representative of the Regent Chief of Maforki and Councilor Musa Kanu who chaired the ceremony.
Below are some of the photos obtained during the ceremony including the former Health Facility…..