Johannes Mallah Jnr visited Sierra Leone in April 2021 to follow up on OWL work and have a face to face meeting or discussion with our contacts,partners and friends in Bo
When I arrived in Bo, OWL Bo Chair, Dr Wusu Sannoh gave me a warm welcome. I handed letters, parcels and extended OWL UK greetings to OWL Bo members and friends. OWL BO Centre went to the OWL Bo centre the following day to see the status of the centre and find out about the challenges and way forward. Whilst in Bo, I helped out to ensure the OWL centre electrical and interior painting work is completed before returning back to the UK. I made contact with a solar technician in Freetown to fix power at the OWL Bo centre and there is currently a solar power light at the top floor and the ground floor power work is expected to commence soon and be completed in October or early November 2021. This will cut down on the running cost of the centre as it is expensive to run the centre on a generator due to irregular electricity power supply in Bo city. There is road project work going on along the Bo Mattru road where the centre is located and when this project is completed, it will add more value to OWL Bo centre.
Yemoh Town Clinic Lab I visited Yemoh town clinic with OWL Bo chair, Dr Wusu Sannoh and we met with Mr Deen, nurses and other staff. I helped out together with other OWL Bo members to ensure the lab equipment and kits are purchased and to ensure the work commences before returning back to the UK. The lab is currently running and OWL UK will continue monitoring its operation and provide support in other areas at the clinic in the future. Bo Government Hospital: had a meeting with Dr Augustine Eric Fombah , the medical superintendent at Bo government hospital inorder to find out about their current constraint and for him to list areas which they require help or support. OWL UK is in touch with Warwick hospital in the UK to establish a link with Bo government Hospital and the discussion is ongoing but slow due to COVID.
Bo Children’s Hospital I also visited Bo children’s hospital and I met with some of the nurses and staff on duty that day. OWL UK is in touch with the hospital partners/trustees in Australia to collaborate and work together in supporting the health link in Bo. Covid Situation In Sierra Leone Sierra Leone has been removed from UK red list countries and the government is still encouraging adults to take their covid vaccines. The COVID cases are very low and there is ease in restriction around the country but citizens are also encouraged to put on face masks in public buildings or offices.
The Covid pandemic has impacted on us all and of course has also affected the activities of OWL. The fact that we have not published a newsletter for over a year is evidence to that. I hope that this newsletter finds everyone well and coming through this very difficult time. In our previous communication, over a year ago, we advised about a visit to Bo by a group in January 2020, followed by Teacher’s Group visit to Bo in February that year. The first group explored the potential for a joint OWL Health Committee and undertook work in relation to Development Planning. There is definite potential for working on a Health Strategy but the Covid situation made it impossible to advance this in the period since. However, a donation from a relative of Helena White enabled a laboratory to be created and fitted out at Yemoh Town Clinic. Johannes Mallah Jr (a member of our committee since last year) was able to visit Bo in March 2021 and was instrumental in getting the project off the ground.
There is potential for working on a Health Strategy
Taking a positive from the Covid crisis, along with many others, we held online (Zoom) meetings. This meant that we could have joint meetings with colleagues in Bo and are possibly staying in touch better than before. Consequently, we were able to agree several improvements to the OWL Centre, including upgrading the solar power and electrical system and decoration of the building inside and out. In September we agreed a collaboration between an IT Company in Bo and OWL, whereby the Company would use the OWL Centre and equipment. OWL would benefit from good quality internet connectivity and IT support. It is hoped that this will enable the rooms to be used for online training and events in the future and sustain use of the building. The use of online meetings also proved successful recently, when were able to have a joint meeting with trustees of Bo Children’s Hospital (BCH), from Australia. Wusu Sannoh, OWL Chairman and Trustee of BCH also joined in. Future plans for BCH and possible collaboration on health issues were discussed. Looking to the future, we are hoping that with travel restrictions easing, we can support a visit to Bo early in the New Year.
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