By Mohamed Lamin Banya
Residents at Mafengbeh community, Wilkinson Road in Freetown say among many challenges they are faced with is no access to a hospital facility or a community health centre or even a peripheral health unit.
They maintained that this is affecting their children, pregnant women and aged people in the community. The community according to these residents has no health care centres which is causing pregnant women to give birth on their way to other medical facilities far off.
Mafengbeh is among slum communities in Freetown. It is strategically located along Wilkinson Road in Freetown and has about 5,000 residents most of whom live in make-shift houses that can be easily swept by heavy downpour or wind.
Mafengbeh community’s chief, Pa. Alimamy Kargbo said, the community is deprived to the extent that they are even struggling to access safe drinking water and good roads.
“One thing that we are happy about is that for many years now we have not been victim of flooding during the rains despite the fact we are a slum community,” Pa. Kargbo said.
He added that, the community has a lot of pregnant women but that access to a hospital has been very challenging for them, citing that, they are calling on the government to construct one for them.
Construction of a community health centre or peripheral health unit in most parts of the country has been challenging for successive government and Mafengbeh is among several communities in Sierra Leone that lacks a hospital. The community also faces challenges in accessing basic amenities with a hospital being paramount.
Speaking to AYV some female residents said the only way they have access to a hospital is to go as far as Aberdeen Road or Murray Town which is very critical especially for pregnant women.
“If you are pregnant you will find it hard or sometimes you give birth to your child on the way; and the community is too big for us not to have a health centre” they lamented.
Fatmata Sesay a pregnant woman added that it is difficult for her to complete her pregnancy medication due to the fact that the community has no health centre, noting that, she goes as far as Syke Street to seek medical attention. She added that, the community over the years has lost many children and old people needing urgent medical service due to lack of a community health facility.