Sierra Leone is a
small country the size of Wales on the West African coast, 8th
poorest country in the world. What is the face of this poverty? The lack of justice and the lack of health
care! What is the answer? Education!
How many times have I said that, when talking to potential
supporters of EducAid and people I meet and am explaining our work to and yet,
each time we see it again, it hits me like a sand bag.
Yesterday, Amadu S Fofanah (14) died.
What did he die of? Who knows!
Why did he die? Because he was taken by his family to some
quack doctor’s place for endless drips, probably of saline solution and Vitamin
B and there was no proper diagnosis or treatment. Because this guy is not licensed to practice,
his body was then sneaked out and taken away for burial.
Who will ask
Why did his family
take Amadu there? Because the quack
pharmacy guy is also part of the family and he will treat at a reduced
rate. Because there is no free medical
care. Because the nearby government hospital,
with only one behind the times doctor, is in fact just as disastrous a place
anyway – with guess work, over-priced prescriptions and needless death a daily
If you are ill in Sierra Leone you are in trouble. Those that survive, do so against horrible
odds but the average life expectancy is still in the 40s.
I still believe that education is the answer. I still believe that the only way the appalling
life and death statistics here will change is when there is an educated
population, from among whom good, well informed doctors with integrity can
emerge and a population that is able to ask intelligent questions about their
health, the diagnosis, a proposed treatment and stop blindly believing whatever
they are told and a population that knows its responsibilities and demands its
We are fighting and we will continue to fight but before
these enormous problems are solved, far too many more Amadus will be lost for
no good reason. Tragic, heart-breaking,
unacceptable! In the name of all those
we have lost, we renew our efforts to fight ignorance and pursue informed
We are angry. We are
devastated. We are ready to fight on.