By Alfred Fornah

Residents of Koinadugu District, especially those who benefited from the Japan funded project titled: ” Strengthening Sierra Leonean National Health Capacity through Diaspora Engagement” have on the 9th November 2017 applauded the project; noting that it has contributed immensely to improve access to health care services in the District.

They expressed gratitude to the Diaspora Medics for delivering exceptional free medical treatments including major and minor surgery to people who are in dire need of these services.
“I am happy that the Diaspora health care workers are here to offer us this gesture, because I wouldn’t have even attempted to come to the Hospital since I couldn’t afford to pay Medical bills “said Adama Sow, a beneficiary of the project. She also noted that the Diaspora free health care programme is necessary and is impacting the the lives of so many people in both Koinadugu and Falaba Districts.

Paramount chief Gbawuru Mansaray iii of Wara Wara Yagala Chiefdom in Koinadugu District expressed thanks and appreciation to the Japanese Government for providing funds for the project and the implementing Agency, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and also it’s Partners like Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA), Ministry of Health for choosing Koinadugu District to roll out a pilot phase of the project. “We really appreciate the effort of the Diaspora Medical Professionals. Many of our people know their health problems but can’t afford to pay for Medical services, therefore the intervention of these medics is really timely” he explained. He looked forward to the Diaspora Medical Experts for more help especially in the area of health care delivery in the District.
“When we started Work in Kabala Government Hospital, people came from the surrounding villages, and all over Koinadugu District to benefit from our free medical treatments. And within a short period, we carried out a lot of successful surgical procedures/treatments. Said Doctor Bangura, a diaspora Medical Doctor from US.

Doctor Charles Senessi, a Physician, WHO Consultant, an experienced Sierra Leonean Diaspora Medical Professional from Switzerland said they are in Sierra Leone not only to provide health care services but to transfer skills to the locals ; there by narrowing the knowledge gap. He added that they were happy to have contributed to the development of the health sector. “Our colleagues in the diaspora are willing to come and we will definitely reach out to them”.

Reacting, the Director of ODA Dr. Kallay Musa Conteh said the contribution of the Diaspora healthcare workers is a respond to the call of His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma who is the brain child of the establishment of the Office of the Diaspora Affairs to harness the Diaspora towards national development. He said the contribution of the Sierra Leonean Diaspora community to the country’s development over the years cannot be overemphasized. ” Diaspora contributions range from remittances to skills transfer, and the work of the Diaspora health experts in Koinadugu District is a clear testament of how Diasporans are contributing to nation building ” Dr Conteh stated. He further expressed gratification for the successful partnership between his institution (ODA) with IOM and MOHS in the implementation of the MIDA Health Care Project. He appealed to other Sierra Leonean Experts in the diaspora to come home and give back to their country.

Meanwhile, the Diaspora Medical Doctors who were in the country recently for a short medical mission under the MIDA Health Care program have completed their assignment in providing free medical treatments in the areas of Mental Health, Dental, Internal Medicine, Gynecological and Pediatric cases for about one hundred and fifty patients (89 Surgical patients, 45 outpatients, 48 dental care.)

The Project Coordinator of the Diaspora Health Care Project, Akao Kunikazu assured the continued support of the Japanese Government to bring more Diaspora Medical Doctors to Koinadugu and Falaba Districts, adding that residents of these areas should take advantage of the opportunity.