I returned from a 6 week trip to Sierra Leone in October. During that time I had arranged a meeting with Her Excellency, Sia Nyama Koroma, the First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
As an organization we had been praying for expansion of our free primary care clinic in Murray Town, Freetown which was opened in 2009. During conversations held earlier in spring the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) made it clear that they did not want further expansion at our clinic site. The land had become a political hotspot for the community between various council people and the widespread encroachment of businesses on the property we had been originally told we could expand upon.
We decided to go straight to the top and see if there was an existing, empty hospital building that we could move our clinic to so that our free health services for the disabled and underserved could continue without disruption but also large enough or with adjacent property that we could expand and build a cancer center on in the future. There is currently no cancer care available anywhere in Sierra Leone. To our amazement I was told by the First Lady that I was the answer to her prayer.
Three days later were given an empty building in Lakka on Peninsular Road just outside the capital city of Freetown. The former Vice-President of Sierra Leone, Mr. Solomon Berewa had built the 24 bed hospital in memory of his late wife in 2006. It had never been opened.
After 3 meetings with the First Lady and 4 meetings with the former Vice President we went to work preparing the building with painting, cleaning, and renovation to the ceiling, electrical and water. On Friday, Nov. 2 all parties, the current interim Minister of Health and Sanitation, Her Excellency Sia Nyama Koroma, Mr. Solomon Berewa and GGM had signed off on a 20 year Memorandum of Understanding with 1.5 acres of land available for a future cancer center.
The new name of our clinic/hospital is “Lady Deborah Berewa Hospital”. The doors are now open andpatients are being seen. We are excited about this collaborative effort in place with the office of the First Lady andhope to be able to report many new and exciting developments as GGM continues to strive for improved health care in Sierra Leone.
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