A day with HealthCare for the Aged, cheering their untold stories
By: Sulaiman Stom Koroma
I left Hamilton at about 6.30 in the morning, headed to the Eastern part of Freetown to meet Mohamed S. Bah and his HealthCare for the Aged Team who are set to depart for Dubai and other surrounding communities to distribute second-hand clothes and also provide medical assistance to older persons.
These communities are not only isolated but very difficult to reach, rough, hilly, stony, scary, and today, muddy. Painstakingly, they climb those hills from backhaul road with the items to distribute, carried on their heads.
As healthy as I am, I was fused halfway feeling tired, and weak with muscle cramps, and couldn’t move further, Bah and his Team came to my rescue, and instead of treating the people we are here to treat, I fell a victim. But for them, it’s a usual process, a process they undertake at least once a month. Meanwhile, all these efforts, resources, or whatever they put into this, are resources they put together themselves, considering the nature of finance needed for this, the government should consider supporting such initiatives.
I have heard many things about these communities including how difficult it is to reach, but that was hearsay, feeling it myself, resonates with the reality on the ground.
Seeing the team from a distance, the people sang songs to welcome Mohamed S. Bah and his Team whom they see here as saviors. I felt touched, saddened, and at the same time feeling sorry for them. Their smiles show hope and resilience, but in them, you see suffering and the need for immediate support.
I met an old man in his 70s, he looks pale, weak, and hopeless. He told me how he has been sick for over a month now without any medical attention. The same is so, for many other aged I spoke with.
Generally, the conditions of older people in the country are miserable and for those who reside in hard-to-reach areas is even worse.
I have practiced as a journalist for over 15 years- reporting issues from different communities all over the country, but with what I saw there today is like the beginning of my career.
The irony for HealthCare for the Aged is that, while they are honored and recognized in those communities, the government knows little or nothing about them.
After over five hours of intense medical examination and medication, I left the Dubai community feeling challenged to take what I have seen to the government, local and international organizations, banks, other institutions, philanthropists, and other well-meaning Sierra Leoneans to support HealthCare for the Aged so that they will meet more communities and older persons in hard-to-reach areas in the country.