By Hassan Bruz
BRAC, an international non-governmental organisation operating in the Port Loko has opted to intervene in diverse ways in the country’s post ebola recovery programme.
This was made public by the Regional Health Coordinator of the organization, Bazhur Mohamed Rashidwith special responsibility to the Western Area.
The disclosurefor sustainable support to Port Loko District was made at an advocacy meeting held recently at the Conference Room of the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA)’s Office in Port Loko.
Addressing traditional authorities, commercial motor bike riders, representatives of youth leaders, drivers, union and market women’s associations, the Regional Health Coordinator said BRAC started in 1972 after the Liberation War between Pakistan and Bangladesh and it has since become an International NGO which is globally operating in 11 countries of which five are in West Africa.
He said the organization commenced operations in Sierra Leone in the year 2008 with a focus on Micro Finance but later in cooperative Health, Agriculture and Legal Service.
On the health sector, Bazhur Mohamed Rashid said BRAC has 421 Health Promoters at community levels who conduct community sensitization on various health related issues with special attention to pregnant women and Under-five children in ensuring that they take the prescribed immunisations.
He said BRAC was requested by the Health Ministry in 2014 to help fight Ebola in the country and explained how the organization actively intervened in six districts and trained Community Health Promoters with technical support from the Health Ministry.
He said BRAC also conducted monthly Refresher Training and provide Mobile Phones to these trained health promoters.
John S Bangura is the Health Coordinator for BRAC in Port Loko District. He said theorganisation has further conducted Street Theaters and that BRAC was currently operating 16 Pharmacies in the district as a Pilot Phase.
He said the principal objective of this stakeholders meeting is for community members to be able to get a better insight into the operations of BRAC, and for them to factor their input on the Health Project which the organisation is implementing in the six out of the eleven chiefdoms in the district.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, the Coordinator of the Port Loko District Ebola Response Centre, Hon. Raymond Kabia who doubled as chairman for the deliberation, recalled the immense services BRAC has done in the district with special reference to the Micro Credit Scheme for Women through which a lot of people have been able to derive some benefits.
He said Masimera,one of the most deprivedchiefdomsin the district also benefitted from both the Health and Agricultural inputs.
Hon, Raymond Kabia spoke of the invaluable support the organisation has made toward the Ebola fight and cited the vehicle it recently donatedto the Social Mobilisation Pillar,plus free supply of fuel and maintenance cost for over a period of three months.
The Port Loko District DERC Coordinator further mentioned the Chlorine that BRAC provided to the Peripheral Health Units in the district, stressing that it is not a new organisation and should therefore be accorded the required support in order to be able to maintain its enviable legacy.
This was endorsed by the Social Mobilization Pillar Lead, Anthony Kenneh who also represented the Port Loko District Medical Officer.
He said it would have been pretty difficult for the District Health Management Team to cope so well with the challenges posed by Ebola, if it were not for the timely intervention of BRAC and other partners.
The deliberations were rounded up with appeals not only for continued support but for the Management of BRAC to extend and expand its services to other deprived chiefdoms in the district.