Visit to the Health Centre
During her recent trip to Sierra Leone, Janet O’Shea was delighted to include a visit to the new health centre in Brama, which was officially opened in December 2022. The building stands opposite The Connexion’s Bethesda Orphanage, and has been named the Ralph O’Shea Memorial Medical Centre, in honour of Ralph’s friendship and support.
Health Centre Staff
The centre’s Director, Rev Karimu Kabba, is a well-respected competent and organised gentleman, with a quiet, respectful approach, and the Lead Nurse, Augustine Millo, adds equal value, having a wealth of experience and the ability to conduct minor surgery. Most health centres in Sierra Leone do not have a full time doctor, whereas Augustine has moved into accommodation on site, so is readily accessible.
In all, the centre employs 14 people, including security staff and cleaners. Several of the nurses are very experienced in midwifery and general medical care, and a laboratory technician and trainee are on hand to carry out necessary testing.
Health Centre Patients
Currently there are approximately 100 patients registered at the centre. This not only includes children, but a range of age groups. An increasing number of pregnant women are now gaining confidence in being treated at the ‘new’ centre. This is promising, because it is a common issue with folk who live in remote villages to rely on home remedies and the advice of local ‘practitioners’, rather than attend a medical facility.
For example, there are many cases of malaria and typhoid in Sierra Leone, which require treatment as early as possible, but on two occasions, young children sadly died because their parents left it too late to bring them to the health centre. Building trust is therefore key in helping those in need to receive treatment – and potentially save lives.
Janet felt great confidence during her visit to the centre in February: ‘I found the staff welcoming, professional and knowledgeable. On one day, I was taken ill during a five-hour journey back to Bethesda, but on my arrival Karimu, Augustine, the lab technician and Hawa, a nurse, were all waiting for me, ready to spring into action! Within an hour I was tested, diagnosed and administered treatment. The whole experience was very efficient and Hawa stayed with me for 48 hours, caring for me with great love and attention. I believe that this is how every patient that enters the centre is treated. Magnus stresses that the health centre is not just treating the body but also the soul, and he is right. It is a truly amazing place, where the love of God is palpable.'
It is also reputed that the Minister for Health in Sierra Leone stated that if he becomes ill, he wants to be taken to the Ralph O’Shea Memorial Medical Centre (ROMMC) at Brama. Quite the recommendation!
Looking to the future, a new maternity unit is being added to the centre, but funds are needed for its completion. There are no births taking place at the centre yet but pregnant mothers are now attending for check ups.
Regular eye surgeries are also being held. In just one day during Janet’s visit, 29 cataracts were performed. And Magnus is also considering the possibility of introducing a dental team!
The success of the new health centre is a wonderful answer to prayer and has the potential to transform the lives of local communities and their children.
We ask for continued prayer for its ongoing management and development and thank all of those who have so generously contributed to this valuable cause.
If you would like to make a donation, to help SLM's work in Sierra Leone, just click on the Donations button, located at the top of each website page. Please also state if you would like your donation to go towards a particular project.
Alternatively donate by Bank Transfer:
Sort code: 20-16-08, Account number: 30799076, Account name: Sierra Leone Mission
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Sierra Leone Mission. Postal address: Janet Foord, 2 Cheyne Close, Church Milton, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 2SQ