By Mohamed Amara Gando
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation on Tuesday, 7 September disbursed Le 420 million to 28 residents of Lumley at the Ministry of Health conference hall in Freetown with each resident receiving fifteen million Leones (Le 15,000,000).
After months of negotiation, the relocation grant is to enable the recipients to find accommodation and evacuate from the proposed site of the paediatrics Lumley Government Hospital.
Admonishing residents from Lumley, the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Austin Demby, pleaded with the residents of the proposed site to relocate for the benefit of the general populace of Lumley. The Japanese Government has reportedly asked the residents to relocate to pave the way for the construction of the hospital.
“We are doing this for the people of this country, especially for the people of Lumley and beyond. These monies are not enough to replace your properties, but it can help you to start looking for places,” he said.
He thanked the residents for their resilience and sacrifices for the good of all. He informed them that Lumley is a growing community, adding that in the next ten years, if such hospital is not constructed to meet the demand of the population, it would be catastrophic for residents of Lumley especially lactating mothers. He therefore encouraged the residents to accept the Le 15,000,000.
Dr. Demby said Lumley community is growing every day, stating that it is necessary to have such ultra-modern tertiary children’s hospital to serve the demand of the growing population. “We’ve seen that it is not good for women in labour to travel from the far end of Lumley to Connaught Hospital to deliver. Therefore, we are really focusing on Lumley to construct this ultra-modern tertiary children’s hospital and we think it will serve not only the Lumley community but the entire country,” he said.
Esther Sia Musa, a resident of the premises of the proposed 152-bed ultra-modern tertiary children’s hospital said she welcomed the idea and described the proposed site of the hospital as a “mile-stone development for the people of Lumley community and its surroundings”.
She encouraged her fellow residents to accept the money, adding that she appreciated the Government for giving her such an amount. ” If the government gives me Le 15,000,000 to evacuate that place, I appreciate it because I am part of the government,” she noted. Having stayed at the premises for many years, some residents expressed sadness for leaving the premises. In a sad mood for the relocation of his family after 20 years at the premises, Alhaji Mansaray described the moment as “historic”. He said that in view the importance of the said construction, it is but necessary for them to evacuate
One of the residents receiving her Cheque of Le 15 million (L) and Minster of Health, Dr. Austin Demby (R)