By Elkass I.L Sannoh
The Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) Member of Parliament for Constituency 13 representing Kenema District, yesterday raised serious concern on the unprecedented health hazards at the Cottage Children’s Hospital, observing that if the situation is not checked it will seriously undermine the free health care scheme.
Standing under Parliamentary Orders 23, Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai informed the Speaker of Parliament and the entire membership that Fourah Bay Road was inundated with piles of dirt, while she said the frontage of the hospital has virtually become a garbage dumping site.
She also stated that the entire environment was a breeding ground for mosquitoes, cockroaches, rats, snakes and all forms of pests and vectors.
The Parliamentarian also observed that the first environment where a child is born will have an effect on him or her, stressing that if the hospital is surrounded with dirt there is every possibility for children born in the place to get affected by diseases.
She said the PCMH is a place where thousands of Sierra Leonean children are born and if not properly sanitized it will thwart the achievement of the free health care.
She reiterated that one of the purposes of the free health care is the achievement of Millennium Development Goals Four and Five by 2015, but pointed out that as dirt continues to overcome one of the leading children’s hospital in the country it will be difficult to get the needed objective of the scheme.
Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai also used the opportunity to ask the Speaker of Parliament Justice Abel Stronge to inform the Chairman on Parliamentary Committee on Health and Sanitation and the Chairman on Local Government to immediately take action.
She also asked colleague Members of Parliament and the Government to equip benevolent organizations and patriotic Sierra Leoneans to lend hands in the cleaning of the city.
She pointed out that as far as she knows Freetown is the dirtiest city in the country compared to Makeni, Bo and Kenema. She called on Government to educate, sensitize and raise awareness on environmental sanity.
She also frowned at the population congestion in Freetown, which she said was one of the reasons the city was hard to clean as people just threw dirt everywhere without regard for its consequences.
She appealed to all Sierra Leoneans to control dirt in Freetown while advising the Government to put trash cans on every street and all commercial drivers to have dirt collecting bags in their vehicles for passengers to put their refuse in.
She also called on the law enforcement officers to arrest anyone found messing the streets and have them prosecuted in Court.