By Viktor Tutu Rogers
An increasing menace of stray dogs, skin diseases dogs, rabies dogs, mad dogs, are notoriously plying every nook and cranny in their numbers in the streets of the city of Freetown to the annoyance of tourists, kids and commuters.
Dogs’ numbers were being curbed by the robust work by council dog catchers in the streets of Freetown some time ago, but this very useful vocation and the role of the veterinary in the country have not only diminished, they have become zilch.
“When I was going to school in the 80s I used to see dog catchers running after stray dogs, picking them up with their muzzles and bags. By then, Sierra Leone was a one party state and as a result of negligence and corruption, all that was lost and became non-existent,” said Tommy Finney of Brook Street. This view expressed by Tommy has been echoed by many others around the city. Mrs. Taylor-Pearce told us that dog catchers were part of the city’s landscape that were dressed in a fit-for-purpose outfit. “Why can’t this Mayor do us the service to re-introduce that very essential job within the council than those good for nothing Metropolitan Policemen?” 80-year-old Mrs. Pearce asked.
The question is a good one the Mayor should respond to on breakfast radio 98.1 FM. Whether the absence of a dog catching service culminates from the ravages of war or the mismanagement of funds both by past council management and the local government ministry’s lack of prioritization, the fact remains that urban planning has been neglected for far too long. The sprawling number of slum dwelling is a direct corollary to poor urban planning and city neglect resulting in a rise in dog rabies, swine flu (H1N1) and a spread in contagious diseases.
A man’s best friend is universally said to be a dog. A dog can both safeguard and reliably secure a man’s home. As pets, dogs, apart from cats, love cuddling and playing with adults and children alike in the home. Vets are less and less in the scheme of things now in relation to providing pets care for these animals in the country, and to talk of animal protection is a far cry. “It’s off limits,” Pearce pointed out.
Rights to Life is at stake for dogs. Should they be wholesomely being quarantined when or if some of them are healthy? But those that are diseased must be gotten rid of off the streets for health and safety reasons. Reports indicated that the Satellite Hospital and the Medical Stores at Kingharman Road, New England Ville, are being inundated with presentations by parents with their kids who have been bitten by stray dogs. Dr. Oweiss Koroma has made a lot of reports highlighting the dangers of stray dogs whose bites have led to the untimely death of many young children in the slum areas. One, due to being poor they couldn’t raise the money for anti-rabies medication from the Medical Stores, and, two, they are illiterates.
Of the dogs themselves their lives are put at stake by those, in the case of the Chinese, who prefer dog meats for gourmets. Dogs roaming aimlessly are at risk of motor vehicle accidents and their carcasses leave a foul stench for weeks in the surrounding areas. Young street children use dogs to practice their stoning skills and often leaving the dogs severely injured. Dogs poos littering the streets are unhealthy, our retinas are affected by them, according to the American Veterinary Society.
FOCUS 1000, which is primarily focusing on the 1000 days of a baby, its growth and environment, highlights the need for what it refers to as the ‘Strengthening, Accountability and Building Inclusion (SABI) Project, advocates health related issues for improving lives. In this way, this menace by dogs can be tackled by the Ministry of Health & Sanitation in collaboration with the Local Government and the Freetown City Council by mounting a sustained campaign
De True Voice for De Voiceless.
Choithrams Memorial Hospital Helps The Poor
By Prince Coker
Arish Agnani: Choithrams Memorial Hospital Spokesman
Choithrams Team Facing the Media on Wednesday 23/10/19 – Elias Bangura and Agnani
Mr. Daniel Kamara and son receive free medical treatment at Choithrams Hospital
Choithrams Memorial Hospital in Freetown does not offer a free medical service, but it is well known for its charitable work providing a lot of free medical services and care to people who are not able to pay for their bills.
Mr. Arish Agnani, the hospital’s spokesman told the media that the tweet by the Indian Vice President has been misconstrued culminating in an avalanche of reports on the Social Media slaying the hospital. To buttress his comments, a mudslide victim who’s an above the knee left amputation has corroborated in the presence of journalists Choithrams’ standpoint that it does provide free medical care to poor indigents such himself. Choithrams has also stated that it will offer a scholarship to the young amputee so as to help him complete his education.
“We give yearly scholarships to school children. This year, I can assure you we will give Mr. Kamara’s 12-year-old son a scholarship,” said Mr. Agnani. Mr. Kamara was tearful sitting next to his son, a mudslide victim.
Journalists made inquiries into the role and language of what it means to a lot of people hearing that Choithrams, where an X-ray examination costs Le2,600, has been quoted as saying it offers free medical care in Sierra Leone. If that is so, why has there not been an influx of service users on the hospital wards? Mr. Agnani said there has been a misunderstanding and he listed a litany of dates on when he has had to make charitable offers of medical care to many Sierra Leoneans. It would appear as though Trolls on the net have sought to mislead the populace to believe that which was not uttered by the management of Choithrams Memorial Hospital.
One journalist said: “The hospital’s management should ask the Indian Vice President to re-tweet and make the changes to have been an error.” The hospital is run as a business and no one in his right mind should expect the management to be footing free medical bills for all and sundry, but it is also true that “the foundation pays up for those who can’t afford it for treatments,” Elias Bangura said. “Those who have will pay, but those who can’t, will not.”
The Trust provided a free medical care that was reported in Standard Times newspaper in 2010. It was also reported that a team of German doctors from a German Medical Foundation was at the hospital to assist with free medical care, including operations. The German doctors undertook critical surgeries; they often were successful. It was quite recently that the hospital carried out twelve successful heart surgeries for free which, in a normal circumstance, should have cost the patients $15,000 US each, were the surgeries done in a foreign country. The hospital’s policy is to run it on a cost-recovery basis admitting patients of all kinds, regardless of age or status in society without a hint of discrimination.
One of the best medical centers in this country has been the Choithrams Memorial Hospital with a Mammography equipment costs $8,000 for breast cancer treatment is available. “Well Woman Clinic benefits from us. There will be an Endoscopy Workshop organized by the hospital and be managed by Dr. Nylander is to be held from November 14 2019,” said Agnani. In 2009, Dr. Russell did about 12 operations without charge.
“There were six patients that received free treatments in 2009. One hundred patients also received free services – we offered free hernia operations and breast cancer treatments to patients in 2013,” said Arish Agnani. The hospital is supported by Choithrams International Foundation and has never been a recipient of funding from the Indian Government.
In February 2018, a team of international cardiologists comprising Professor Thomas Crawford from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in the US and Professor Zaheer Yousef from Cardiff University, alongside the Choithrams team, including Dr. James Russell and the hospital staff successfully implanted several Intra-cardiac pacemakers for the very first time in Sierra Leone.
After that, Dr. Russell had successfully implanted several intra-cardiac pacemakers in Sierra Leonean patients who were suffering from bradyarrhythmia, a very slow heart beat that requires emergency treatment and the outcomes have been good. A team of German pediatric surgeons in alongside Choithrams Memorial Hospital staff have been doing free surgeries in Sierra Leone on poor and needy patients below age 18. The surgeries, done under the umbrella of Bintumani-German Sierra Leone Society, started from the 8th to 23rd February 2019.
FORMER MAYOR AND WESTERN AREA PRO REMANDED FOR MURDER
BY FEIMA SESAY
The former Mayor of Freetown Albert Akiyemi George Williams and the APC Western Area PRO Abu Bakarr Dyrami were yesterday refused bail and sent to prison by Magistrate Mark Ngegba of court No2 for the alleged murder of one journalist Ibrahim Samura in the 2018 general election.
The accused person Albert George Williams and Abu Bakarr Dyrami made their first appearance in court and were arraigned on two counts charges of Murder and Conspiracy to commit grievious bodily harm contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone.
According to the indictment, the prosecutor alleged that, the accused persons on 31 March 2018, at Lumley Round about Freetown murder Ibrahim Samura. Whiles the prosecution further alleged in counts two that the accused persons on the same date in Freetown conspired together with other persons unknown to commit greivious bodily harm to the deceased Ibrahim Samura.
When the charges were read and explain to the accused persons in court, no plea was taken.
The states prosecuting counsel Lawyer Adrain Fisher intimated the court that, his witness were absent and there fore could not proceed with the matter in the circumstance requested for an adjournment to subpoena them.
Lead defense counsel lawyer Lansana Dumbuya Esq. also in reply said his client are in court on a various allegation which has taken over a year but yet still the prosecution could not come with any witnesses to support their case. He said the liberty of his clients are at stake and therefore urge them to expedites the matter.
He however applied for bail on their behalf stating that they are respectful citizens ordinarily resident in Freetown with reliable sureties who are willing and ready to enter recognisance on their behalf if granted bail.
He also said they want a speedy trial so that their clients will have the opportunity to proved their innocent.
His application was vehemently opposed to by the states prosecutor lawyer Adrain Fisher on the grounds that, his application do not have any merit, stating that they only received the file on 13 August this year.
Magistrate Mark Ngegba however refused granting bail to the accused persons due to the serious nature of the offences charge and therefore remanded them both in prison whiles the matter was adjourned to the 29 October 2019 for further hearing
However also lawyer Lansana Dumbuya, Osho Williams and 12 others represented the accused persons in court. Whiles lawyer Adrain Fisher and lawyer O.V Robbin Mason were prosecuting the matter on behalf of the state.
ORAANGE MOBILE DONATES MENSTRUAL HYGIENE PACKS TO SCHOOLS
BY FEIMA SESAY
Orange Mobile Company Sierra Leone Limited in collaboration with Girl Child Network has donated Menstrual Hygiene Packs to Government Technical Secondary School and Vine Memorial Secondary respectively as part of the pledge of 1.5 million dollar they made towards the Free Quality Education Agenda in 2018.
The said packages includes, three pads, one soap and also a face towel.
General secretary of Orange Mobile Company Haffie Haffner before the presentation stated that, the donations is to mark the start of the Menstrual Hygiene packs project. She said the project was designed due to the pledge Orange made in the sum of 1.5 Million Dollar in materials to support the free quality education project agenda.
She maintain further that, since Orange made the promise they have been trying keep to it and has done that in collaboration with the Ministry of Education to designed culture that will expand the above mention pledge over a period of five years.
Madam Haffner continued that, Orange have designed five projects which include taking super codding into schools to ensure that the country is digitalized because they want to play a role in that aspect, adding that every year they will take codding to 20 school.
And that secondly Orange will distributes menstrual hygiene packs to 100 schools over a period of five years and 20 schools per year as she said their aim is to give 2,000 packs to 20 schools over the five years period, adding that the donation is to kick start that project.
She further explained that, Orange will distributes 1,000 Solar packs to1,000 schools in 1,000 villages that do not have access to electricity for the period of five years, noting that every year they will give 200 solar packs to 200 schools in the village.
She stated further that they will also organized Debates and Quees Competition amongst school and that at the end of the competition every year the winner will have one lab, adding further that, Orange will extend the gesture to the teachers that will give them access to an open classroom to do an online Diploma and Degrees course and upon completion they will be given a certificates that will capacitates and enhance their abilities to pass on knowledge to the children.
She said it is also designed to target 1,000 teachers in period of five years and all what she has said is in support of the Free Quality Education,
The President of the Parliamentary Female Caucus Hon. Veronica Kadie Sesay of Constituency 94 in her contribution also thank Orange for their kind gesture, noting that the donation will help those that cannot afford it.
She further encourage the girls make good use of the packages given to them by Orange, noting further that the female caucus has been championing the course of girls to ensure that they have not been disadvantage as she said they want to see them in high places in society.
However also several other Female Members of Parliament were present during the donation to support the girl’s empowerment projects
The country director of Girl Child Network Madam Anita Koroma did the sensitization on how the girls can used and take good care of the packages given to them.
Furthermore, the principals of both Vine Memorial and Government Technical Secondary schools applauded Orange for their kind gesture including the girls.
The donation will also continue in 18 other schools in the country within the period of 7 days.
Dr Samura Kamara Tours Falaba Ahead of a District Council Bye-Election
The 2018 APC presidential aspirant, Dr. Samura Kamara is in Falaba district to woo support for the APC candidate ahead of a district council chairmanship bye-election in the district .
Making various whistle stops in the district, Dr Kamara’s conveyed greetings from the Chairman and Leader as well executive members of the party. He said that he was in the area to lend a helping hand to the APC candidate and to garner support for him. He noted that he was optimistic that the district will prefer the APC candidate to other candidates and urged all to remain committed to the ideals of the APC party.
Dr Kamara further went on to state that the APC party was going through a significant democratic reform and that such a reform is informed by the aspirations of the grassroots. He stated that the party needs everyone onboard and praised contenders for the APC flag bearer position in 2017 for their collective sense of unity and purpose. The former presidential aspirant maintained that he is now fully focused on a mission to unify the party because it is with such a unity that the party will not only be able to win elections but to liberate the masses from their current economic quagmire.
Dr. Kamara called on voters to come out in their numbers to vote the APC candidate adding that Falaba has always been a blue-eyed boy to the APC.
Dr. Kamara’s visit was climaxed by cultural reception ceremonies and meetings with stakeholders in different areas in the district.
THE SIERRA LEONE POLICE, SIERRA LEONE CORRECTIONAL SERVICE AND RAINBO INITIATIVE SIGNED MOU
By: Inspector Alpha Kamara
In ensuring a move that has been referred not only as being a step in the right direction, but also the first of its kind in the fight against rape and sexual penetration in Sierra Leone, the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), Sierra Leone Correctional Service (SLCS) and Rainbo Initiative (RI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will inform the interview of inmates who have been convicted of rape and sexual penetration, and are in various correctional centres across the country. Among other things, the MoU will adequately address issues of confidentiality, respect for convicts, anonymity and information sharing relative to the study on reported cases of rape and sexual penetration that has been on-going since July, 2019.
In line with His Excellency’s proclamation of a State of Emergency on Rape and the “Hands off Our Girls” declaration by Her Excellency, the First Lady, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and his management team through support from the International Security Advisory Team (ISAT) saw the need to critically look at factors that have been responsible for the reported increase of rape and sexual penetration in Sierra Leone. The findings of the study is believed will inform strategies used by law enforcement bodies and other partners in the fight against the menace whose victims have not only been matured women, but also newly-born babies, both primary and secondary school pupils and different categories of women that make up the most vulnerable group of people in Sierra Leone.
Under the direct supervision of Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Mustapha Kamara, Director of Gender Affairs in the SLP, there has been an effective collaboration with Rainbo Initiative, an NGO that has been very committed to offering free and quality medical and psychosocial treatment to survivors of Sexual and Gender Base Violence (SGBV) offences. Thus, such collaboration has reassured research participants (survivors, perpetrators and other service providers) of the neutrality and confidentiality among other key research principles used by the research team as strict guides in the conduct of the study.
The MoU with the SLCS as gate keepers, will be the first move in accessing male inmates who have been convicted of rape and sexual penetration. As clearly captured in the MoU, such inmates will be accorded the maximum respect required as research participants who will be given the free will to withdraw their consent at any point in the interviews that will be held, where they so desire without providing any reason.
The findings of the study, the SLP and its partners believe will not only provide an empirical evidence of the dynamics around the commissioning of rape and sexual penetration in Sierra Leone, but also will inform specific strategies used by the judiciary and other partners including national and international actors in curbing an apparent threat to the survival of the country’s adult women and adolescent girls including babies.
Collectively, the SLP and its partners will keep improving their approaches in the prevention, investigation and the prosecution of SGBV cases.
President Julius Maada Bio assures Investors of a Conducive Business
His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has assured his colleague Heads of State and business leaders that Sierra Leone is a perfect destination with a conducive ecosystem for credible businesses and investments.
Speaking at the Russia-Africa Forum in Sochi, the President said his resource-rich West African nation had prospects in value-addition and processing and that investors were assured of earning and repatriating profit from their investments in a peaceful country, adding that his government would provide a predictable regime of incentives and aftercare while actively encouraging businesses to grow and tell other investors why Sierra Leone was a credible and profitable investment destination.
He said the country was seeking closer partnerships and closer collaboration for its national development in human capital development – education, healthcare, and food productivity. He noted that Sierra Leone was looking forward to strengthening and deepening ties and sharing a future that would be based on mutual trust and respect in all fields.
“Africa and Russia share a strong sense of history and solidarity. Russia’s long history of bilateral cooperation and technical assistance has transformed the lives of millions of Africans throughout the post-independence period. Africa and Russia are at the threshold of negotiating a new and promising relationship. Africa offers an increasingly integrated market of 1.2 billion people; largely untapped mineral, hydrocarbon, and fisheries resources.
“Investment opportunities in tourism, infrastructure and agriculture, and a talented youthful population eager to explore the power of science and technology, and innovation for development. This is the new Africa at peace, integrated, and brimming with an opportunity that is open to Russia and which our individual governments are working hard to develop,” he said.
As Coordinator of the Committee of Ten African Heads of State, President Bio also used the opportunity to reiterate that Africa was firmly committed to the Common African Position on the reform of the United Nations Security Council and anticipated further discussions with the Russian Federation on the all-important issues in its relations with African states.
“Russia Federation has been a very good friend of Africa and we look forward to lowering all barriers to our relations while forging innovative, bolder, but closer, and mutually beneficial relations. As a continent and as a country, Sierra Leone looks forward to consistent and enduring partnerships with the Russian Federation,” he ended.
Standards Bureau Certifies Gitex Rice and Sugar as Fit for Purpose
The Sierra Leone Standards Bureau (SLSB) has concluded laboratory analysis of rice and sugar samples collected from the Gitex Store at Cline Town and certified it as fit for human consumption.
This disclosure was made by Mr. Tamba Kamanda, Manager of the Product Certification Department of SLSB during the Ministry of Information and Communications’ usual weekly Thursday press briefing at Youyi Building in Freetown. He said officials of the SLSB had collected samples of the rice and sugar from the Gitex Store following media reports that the store was in possession of rotten rice and substandard sugar, which was being sold to the public.
He said after organoleptic inspection and further laboratory analysis were conducted and they proved that the rice and sugar were fit for human consumption.
“It is very difficult for you to ascertain the quality of rice or sugar just by it looks. There are processes involved before laboratory analysis. Even in sample collection, it should be randomly collected using instruments that should not infect the samples,” Mr. Kamanda said.
He said for products like grains to be declared substandard, it should be proven empirically, adding that journalists should always crosscheck with the SLSB when reporting stories of such, as “only laboratory analysis can give informed judgement about such products.” He said the SLSB was challenged and lacked the capacity to cover every inch of the ground, noting that the porosity of the borders was another problem.
He, therefore, urged journalists to cooperate with the Bureau, especially towards information sharing to ensure that the importation of substandard goods into Sierra Leone was minimized.
Deputy Director of the SLSB, Mr. Amadu Jogor Bah, said despite the challenges they had always worked with line ministries like the Food Safety Unit at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, which was responsible for surveillance on food products.
Earlier while the Executive Director of the SLSB, Professor Thomas Yormah, was giving a brief background of the institution he said the Bureau was a quality promoting and mainstreaming institution based on solution delivery in metrology, standardization, conformity testing and certification.
“One of the key mandates of the Standards Bureau is the protection of human health, the economy and the environment from the negative impacts of substandard products. We do this by ensuring, as much as it is possible through our Quality Inspection regime, that no substandard product is imported into Sierra Leone,” he affirmed, adding that the Bureau was supposed to carry out quality inspection at all landing borders but unfortunately they were only visible at the Queen Elizabeth the II Quay and Gbalamuya on the Guinea-Sierra Leone border point.
He said as a result, substandard goods would come into the country via all the other entry points, including Lungi Airport, Jendema and a host of other unofficial entry points on the porous borders. The Director also complained that the Bureau was not given adequate space to do meaningful quality inspection at the Queen Elizabeth the II Quay, adding that 60 to 70 per cent of the containers would leave the port premises without undergoing quality inspection.