“This is a very important hospital to the east end community and as members who grew up here we decided that we have a responsibility to give back to our people,” said Jalloh, adding that the health of the community people was paramount.
The former popular Satellite Clinic is itself undergoing rehabilitation following the declaration of the end of Ebola in Sierra Leone and Medical Superintendent, Dr. Matilda King, is happy AWOL UK came in at the right time.
“I am overwhelmed by this support from AWOL UK and I must say it comes just in time as we start rehabilitation of the hospital. The hospital needs so many things after the Ebola scourge. It is not easy to give back, and so I am happy to see young Sierra Leoneans coming together to provide this kind of support,” said Dr. King.
According to Dr. King, the Rokupa Government Hospital is equally as important as the Connaught Hospital as it is the first point of call coming from the provinces.
“It should be a well equipped hospital because of its strategic location and that is what we are striving to achieve. So this kind of support from AWOL UK helps a lot. That is why we must encourage well-to-do and well-meaning Sierra Leoneans to follow such example. Sierra Leone can not only be built by the Government; a lot of the development should come from the people themselves as is happening in Nigeria and Ghana for example,” appealed Dr. King.
The secondary hospital comprises a general ward plus surgical, maternity and pediatric wards. There are TB and EPI units as well. The hospital’s HIV unit burnt down a couple of months ago allegedly due to electrical complications, but it’s now being constructed through support from Unicef and JIKA.
The hospital also now boasts two ambulances for referrals and is planning the establishment of a blood bank for easy transfusion of blood.
It has one assistant doctor and about 100 nurses, 20 lab technicians and 10 pharmacists.
“In general, things are moving forward in terms of repositioning the hospital as a secondary health facility,” said Dr. King, who has been at the helm for the past four years. “We are coping with the challenges but we hope more help will come.”
Meanwhile, the local contractor hired by AWOL UK assured that he would do his very best to get the job of re-tiling the 300 sq meters floor of the hospital done within the proposed time frame of two weeks.
Alie Sesay said he would bring his wealth of experience on construction work to bear on this particular job and that, as a member of the community also, he felt proud and privileged to be chosen by AWOL UK.
The current Organizing Secretary of AWOL UK, Alhaji Gibril Sankoh, said they would monitor the work through the parent AWOL body in Freetown and promised that they would continue to provide support wherever and whenever they can.
He revealed that funds for their community and humanitarian interventions were raised through membership contributions and from proceeds from their annual National Achievement Award ceremonies. This year’s AWOL UK award ceremony is slated for May 28 2016.
This is not the first support AWOL UK has provided back home. Before the Ebola outbreak, the organization funded the rehabilitation of the Saffinatu Najah Primary School at Haja Fatmata, Kissy, Freetown. During the outbreak, they donated health gears to the Kailahun Government Hospital. Kailahun, in Eastern Sierra Leone, was regarded as the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak in the country. Also, during the Government sanctioned three-day Lockdown, AWOL UK contributed bags of rice and cooking condiments towards the general donation made to Ebola-weary Sierra Leoneans by the parent AWOL body in Freetown.