By Nelson Manneh
A health officer in Giboro on Tuesday, 3rd March 2020 explained to lawmakers the challenges he is facing at the border in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic that has so far claimed the lives of many people in other countries.
He explained this to the Parliamentarians, who were visiting the country’s border post to seek firsthand information on the country’s state of preparedness and the preventive measures put in place to prevent the coronavirus for entering the country.
Bakary Manga said he is the only health officer deployed to Giboro to attend to all health issues at the border.
“I do all the necessary testing by myself. I don’t go home because I don’t have anybody to replace me,” he said.
Mr. Manga said thermometer is the only equipment supplied to him by the health authorities for him to do his job.
“I always provide what I need by myself. The office am currently using was built during the Ebola crises,” he said.
“I have a motorcycle but am not provided with fuel. I use my own money to buy fuel whenever I want to use it. I used my money to repair the computer I am using,” he said.
Mr. Manga said the place he is using as an office does not have electricity, adding that there is no room reserved for the temporary isolation of suspects.
“As at now, I only test passengers who are coming in to the country but the ones going out are not tested,” he said.
Hon Ousman Sillah the Chairperson of the National Assembly Select Committee on Health, Women, Children, Disaster, Humanitarian Relief and Refugees said: “We want to know what is actually happening on the ground and what measures are put in place in case there is a suspect. How will the person be handled?”
Sillah expressed his dissatisfaction with the office condition in Giboro and the inadequate human resource there.
“If nature calls and this health officer is not available the passengers may not be able to wait for him. He alone cannot be the cleaner, the health officer and the security officer,” he noted.
Hon. Sillah also proposed to the officers at Giboro to have a sterilized hand washing basin so that passengers can wash their hands.
Commissioner Modou Manneh said the Ministry of Health visited them recently and promised to give them some materials, but they are yet to receive them.
“We only have gloves, face mask and thermometer here and that is what the Health Officer here is using to test the temperature of the passengers,” he said.
Sheik Omar Dibba the subject matter specialist said more health officers should be deployed to the border in Giboro.
“It is not easy for one health officer to be in charge of the whole border,” he said.
The subject matter specialist proposed for every region to be given a vehicle for surveillance purposes and to also monitor the situation within the region.
“The borders are very important and should be put in to consideration. They should be provided with the necessary materials for prevention purposes” he noted.