“The medicine is not enough and we have no choice to live on that. The free health care is not really working here. Distance and poverty are affecting the health sector in Masobala,” he said, adding that the pregnant and new born had to pay Le 5,000 for under five card.
A lactating mother, Mayalie Kamara, living in Rokanu village, Masobala chiefdom, said she lived five miles away from the community health centre and that the free healthcare facilities were actually not free in that part of the country because they normally would buy drugs whenever they visited the health centre.
Responding to these allegations, Nanday Conteh, a midwife at Barmoi Munu CHC hospital – the main healthcare facility in the chiefdom – said the free healthcare was open to lactating mothers, pregnant women and under-fives and that treatment and medications were absolutely free, with support from the District Health Management Team in Kambia.
Meanwhile, Zinab Conteh, a nurse in the hospital, said that they were confronted by challenges of limited drugs in the centre and that most parents were in the habit of giving first aid treatment to their children at home and would only avail themselves for treatment at the hospital when complications arose.
Councillor for Ward 124, Abubakar Kamara, described the chiefdom as the most deprived in the Kambia district. That, he said, was owing to “the lack of schools, security personnel, and health centres in the chiefdom”.
He stated that there was only one secondary school with three classrooms to accommodate pupils from 14 primary schools across the chiefdom.
“There is limited sitting accommodation and no water facilities in the secondary school. In council meetings I have been advocating for development but unfortunately we don’t have a minister, ambassador or higher authority except the recently appointed Chief Justice Cham,” he lamented, adding that their member of parliament could hardly be reached, would visit the area once after five months and had always direct them to council for development. The MP could not be reached for comment.