The National COVID-19 Emergency Response Centre (NaCOVERC) has launched a new coronavirus community care centre (CCC) for informal settlements within the Western Area Rural district.
Freetown City Council Mayor, Her Worship Yvonne Aki-Sawyer opened the centre to the public on Monday 13th July 2020 at the Armed Forces Training College in Benguema.
The 180-bed ultra-modern COVID-19 CCC bed facility, located at the Armed Forces Training College in Benguema, is purposely meant for people with mild COVID-19 symptoms who are unable to meet NaCOVERC’s home isolation requirements.
The home isolation requirement is granted after an assessment by the Case Management Pillar so that people with mild COVID-19 symptoms will have less physical contact with others thereby achieving zero chances of spreading the virus to their family, friends, loved ones and the community.
“This is an integral development,” says Yvonne Aki-Sawyer. “It comes at a time NaCOVERC is set to detect, trace and care for mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients who cannot afford the optional home isolation,” she emphasized.
Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Stephen Sevalie, NaCOVERC’s Case Management Pillar Lead described the opening of the CCC as a huge achievement. He noted that the launch comes at a time when the inter district lockdown has been lifted and more importantly when schools and colleges that were utilized as COVID-19 care centres have to go back to their normal operations.
“This is why we are focusing on strengthening our community health structures that can withstand the tests of time beyond the pandemic.” Dr. Sevalie Stressed.
The facility which was pooled through by strong partnership and collaboration among International and local partners comprising European Union, DFID, UK aid, Concern Worldwide, Catholic Relief Services, Medicines Sans Frontiers, and Sierra Leone Red Cross Society.
The European Union Ambassador to Sierra Leone Tom Vens praised organisations for their collaboration. He expressed his happiness for their role in mobilizing new resources in the support of the national efforts to address the challenges of the pandemic. “Our support is targeting the 350,000 residents living in informal settlements in Freetown who are amongst the most vulnerable. Today, we are happy to see a very complete outcome of our support,” says Mr. Vens.
The 180-bed facility holds 126 general beds, 54 convalescent ward, 187 trained healthcare staff, 60 toilets, 20 showers, 6 laundries, canteen, donning and doffing areas, incinerators, ambulance disinfection area, uninterrupted water and power supply.
The Councillor for Ward 382, Santigie Sesay, was excited for the development. He recounted that prior to opening of the community care centre, COVID-19 infected patients within his ward would have to cover about 10 miles to seek medical care and chances are victim’s condition would be worst in the event.
“This newly established treatment center will make it easier and accessible for people to report COVID-19 signs and symptoms and will go a long way to earn community trust and compliance,” he said.
Benguema is located at the Western Area Rural of Freetown. It popularly hosts the country’s military training center where personnel are trained to protect the country from internal and external threats. With respect to the response, the Republic of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces has been pivotal in not only providing security at quarantined homes and enforcing COVID-19 preventive measure but also in facilitating the management of COVID-19 cases.