Vice President Joseph Boakai has praised a community initiative by citizens of Sewu Town, Grand Cape Mount County, a small town on the border with Sierra Leone, for coming together to build a health center and a road after one of their sons rallied them into doing so.
The Vice President was in Sewu Town on Tuesday, October 6, to donate an assortment of medical supplies to the health center, which was constructed by community members.
Alaskai Moore Johnson, back from Grand Cape MountCounty
“I am happy to be in Sewu in order to help the people of this town, and I want to thank you for this initiative of coming together to help yourselves,” he told the townspeople.
“It is just the beginning of the good things that will come to you. This clinic is for you. You will have to take good care of the facility and those who will come from Monrovia or elsewhere to work here.”
Speaking to reporters after touring the facility, the Vice President said the community is prepared to maintain the facility, judging by what he has seen in their commitment, “They are going to find people to work here.”
The Vice President said that the materials he was donating came from friends in the US city of Phoenix, Arizona, where he had visited in 2012.
He stated that when Liberia was hit by the Ebola virus, some Liberians whom he had met in Arizona, called and said, “We have some medical supplies coming to you to help our people.”
Speaking earlier, Cape Mount Superintendent Tenneh Simpson-Kpedebah said since the health center was dedicated in January 2013, its doors have not been opened due to the lack of materials to run the facility.
“The Vice President came here along with the former Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Walter T. Gwenigale and dedicated it for us. So, we had to go back to him to assist us, and today he has come back with some medical supplies for the clinic to open,” Supt. Simpson-Kpedebah stated while thanking Vice President Boakai.
The Supt. hopes that with the donation from the Vice President, the Grand Cape Mount County Health Team will now open the doors of the health center.
The clinic’s construction was started as a self-help initiative by Augustus Siafa James, who hails from the town, but resides in Monrovia.
According to the townspeople, Mr. James ferried sick people from the town when there was an outbreak of diarrhea a few years ago. A few people died but others were saved because of his initiative.
The elders, youth and women’s leaders, who spoke on behalf of the townspeople, said that Mr. James then told them that there was a need for a clinic in the town because the distance to the nearest one is hours away.
Since one of the town’s major impediments was the lack of an good road, townspeople said that Mr. James motivated them to begin a road project, because a clinic would require one.
Mr. James told journalists that on his own initiative, he spent US$86,000 on the construction of the health center before the county authority stepped in to complete the project after he had run out of financial capital to do so.
Mr. Eric Kaplee, an officer of the Grand Cape Mount County Health Team, said a town of more than 800 persons needs a clinic. He thanked VP Boakai for the donation and appealed to him to also look at the other health facilities in the county, including the ones in Dambala and Sinje.
Included on the list of 39 items donated to the health center are 15 hospital beds, hand sanitizers, 15 boxes of personal protective equipment, three wheel chairs, surgical gloves, four oxygen tanks, 20 crutches, and two respiratory machines.