History was made past Friday as residents and well-wishers of Waterloo saw the first ultra-modern hospital opened at Campbell Town, Old Main Moto Road.
The Minister of Lands, the Chairman of the Western Area Rural District Council, and a representative of ADRA graced the opening ceremony.
The Chairman of the event, Michael D. Jusu, said the concept was single-handedly funded and completed by Dr Tucker who worked so hard in the United States of America but thought of giving back to his country by boosting its healthcare system.
Guest Speaker at the opening ceremony, Prof. Thomas B. R. Yormah, said the popular saying that “Health is Wealth” has ceased to be an empty cliché. The fundamental reality/truth embedded in this phrase has increasingly donned on the conscience of the world as is reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as Goals No. 3, he said.
He continued to say that the SDG Goal 3 is dubbed “Good Health and Well-being”, noting that the global declaration emphasizes the fact that to achieve this overall health goal countries must achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and access to quality health.
“This means that effective health delivery programmes must be inclusive and must cater for the young, the aged, the middle-aged, females and males, the poor and the rich, literate as well as the non-literates; NO ONE MUST BE LEFT BEHIND, is the clarion call. The key rationale for this is that ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being is crucial for building prosperous and resilient societies,” he said.
Dr Yormah pointed out that the nexus between robust health and economic and social development is rather glaring. When the cost to the economy of poor health-related absenteeism from work and/or work performed at below – par status is added to the cost of treating diseases to keep a healthy nation, the result will be monumental and alarming, he said.
“The services provided by this hospital are borne out of the foregoing and more other considerations. I understand that the healthcare delivery focus of this hospital is, in addition to being inclusive, non-communicable diseases,” he said.
Health Care Sierra Leone representative, Dr Soccoh Kabbia, said they were grateful for the gesture of Dr Tucker to the community, describing the benefactor as a man of his words.
Dr Kabbia spoke about the significance of the hospital, especially the non-communicable disease they were going to handle.
“These are diseases that are common but neglected for so long, such as high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and diabetics, among others,” he said.
The MP for Constituency 108, Honourable Mohamed Said Kanu, said their constituency was very happy for the development and that they hoped it would bring a lot of health improvement.
Hon. Kanu promised to give the hospital management all the support they need and called on the community to embrace the hospital by taking care of it.
“This hospital will be very expensive to operate without electricity. If they continue to use a generator it will be expensive for them. Please let the Land’s Minister take this message to President Bio for such support,” he noted.
Waterloo Headman, Ibrahim Kamara, said this is what they can be proud of as a community by pointing the finger at such a project. He also emphasized that electricity has a key role to play in that hospital and the community.
Headman Kamara also called on the management to make the hospital affordable, as access to the hospital is the best for all.
Chairman of the Western Area Rural District Council, Kashor Holland Cole, described Waterloo as one of the most deprived communities in Sierra Leone when it comes to healthcare. He said most of the place they called hospital were clinics, noting that only ADRA is doing operation and operate truly as a hospital.
“We are happy and ready to give you our support. It is not about Waterloo but the entire country,” Chairman Cole said.
In his statement, the Chief Executive Officer of Waterloo Rural Community Hospital, Dr Gladstone Tucker, said health care is a right based on equity, respect, dignity and compassion of the patient. He emphasized that at Waterloo Rural Community Hospital every patient comes first at every level and that they should be treated with compassion.
“Anybody that violates that will face the exit door,” he said.
On the side of affordability, Dr Tucker said they will do their best but noted that it takes money to provide the services. He said about $20,000 (Twenty thousand dollars) was used for the construction alone.
“Dr Tucker left Sierra Leone with one suitcase and subsequently used the opportunity that the USA offered to work hard to transform his life to the admirable station it is today. As a stranger to America, that is what I understand as the USA being the “Land of Opportunity,” he said.