By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
The Association of Sierra Leonean Health Care
Professionals in the United States of America (TASHPUS) has on Friday ended
free screening of diabetes and pressure screening and also providing medicines to thousands of
people in the Northern part of Sierra Leone.
The Association which is a non -profitable
organisation which is based in the state of Delaware in the United States of
America founded in 2014 comprises Sierra Leonean Health Care professionals whose aim is to
provide free medical help to the country
saw thousands of people in Mile 91,
Lungi, Yoni , and at Port Loko Government Hospital at Port Loko Town.
Founder of the Association, Aminata Conteh, a nurse practitioner in the US said, the creation of the organisation sprang up
during the outbreak of Ebola in Sierra Leone in 2014 and as a health professional she wanted to complement
the efforts of the government and to see how she and her colleagues can provide medical help to the country.
“ I put together a team about 6 of them that were
willing to come with me but the logistics and the rate at which health professionals were becoming
infected , the logistics to fly them out of the country , we did not have
guarantee from the government that if something happens to one of us promptly
they will fly us out for medical treatment . And I need that in writing before
I commit other people’s lives to come to render help to the country,’’ she
She said that
they as professionals decided to provide free diabetes and pressure screening
because they see the need not to only
for them to intervene whenever there is
a health crisis in the country but to also help when there is no emergency adding that there are many Sierra Leonean
Health Care professionals in the US thus they are giving back to their country.
“I started calling people that I know, and I told them
let’s do this , lets formalise this organisation . Let’s apply for non
-profitable status and register it in the state of Delaware and then if there
is any health disaster in our country , we already have a platform to go with . But in the meantime,
let’s look for something that we will do that will have impact in the country . So that’s how
the whole thing come about and when we have decided it ,we choose the Northern
region to provide them free screening for diabetes and pressure,’’ Nurse Conteh
Nurse Conteh added that they decided to do the test of
High Blood and diabetes instead of child and maternal health because these two health problems are problems that people
sometimes have for a very long time and
does not realise that he or she has it until there is failure in the organs.
“They called them silent killers , they do not really
have symptoms ,you will not feel that you have them until something started
happening to you. So, we said let’s do
this one and I contacted the country’s Medical Director Dr. Kargbo and sounded to him
that we wanted to come home and do
screening and he said well if you are doing screening is well and good. But you
if you are doing screening and do not give medicines; people would not come,’’
Nurse Conteh added.
The TASHPUS Founder went on to say based on the advice
of the country’s medical director to provide medicines for those screens for at
least three months as he believed that
they will be able to find a way to continue taking their treatment thus she
said they heed to his advice by providing three months medicines to
every one they screened.
‘’We went to Mile 91, Lungi, Yoni , and Port Loko
where we spent two days because Portloko is a big area . The reason of choosing
the North was a result of ballot and eventually the north won . Our
organisation cut across all tribes and region . After the North , the next
place could south , or East depending on what left with us and what we will
raise for the next screening exercise.,’’
The TASHPUS Founder revealed that as an association they spent
over $22,000 just on the medication for the free screening exercise in the
country adding that not mentioning the other logistics like transportation ,
lodging and accommodation among others which she said she can’t quantify the
exact amount on money on the free screening process.
One of the beneficiaries of the free blood pressure check-up
and free diabetes test , Aminata Kandeh Kamara heaped praises on the Sierra
Leonean Health Professionals for their kindness and timely intervention to
their health stating that the screening helped her aware of the two diseases
and how one can saved from them.
“They have done something good for me. I was not feeling good. They check my pressure and the
sugar level in my body . Everything was normal, and they advised me not to eat
Maggie , and salt including to do lots
of exercise. They gave me medicine . They have done great for us for the people
of Portloko,’’ she said.
Another beneficiary Pa Abdulai Daramy , expressed thanks and appreciation for the kindness TASHPUS did for him adding that he was very pleased and happy for the medicines , medical advice they have given him boasting that he will take them as per the advice of the medical team and hoped that they will continue their good will to them whenever they are in the country.