By Amin Kef Sesay
The First Lady of Sierra Leone, Madam Fatima Maada Bio, has made on the 17th October 2020 donated medical supplies and assorted food items to the Sierra Leone Psychiatric Teaching Hospital.
In his statement during the donation, Chief of Staff at the Office of the First Lady, Sheik Salim Fekah disclosed how the visit was part of the First Lady’s commitment to support the people of this country and ensure that people are aware that there is a good system in place. He said the First Lady wants to interact with people in order to see for herself the positive changes they are experiencing as well as the challenges they are going through.
Head of the Psychiatric Teaching Hospital, Dr. Abdul Jalloh said it is indeed an honour to receive the First Lady in their midst revealing how the hospital is the only one in the country and also the oldest in sub-Saharan Africa.
He said the First Lady’s visit is a great birthday gift for them as they are celebrating 200 years of mental health service in Sierra Leone.
Dr. Jalloh lamented how the hospital has been neglected for decades but expressed satisfaction that positive reforms instituted by the present SLPP led administration has brought in various transformations.
He disclosed how they have been working with the First Lady’s Hands Off Our Girls Campaign by providing care for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence victims for free, also providing free psychiatric care for children
According to Dr. Abdul, 80% of the patients admitted at the hospital are abandoned patients and they take full responsibility for them by providing care and 3 meals daily.
Her Excellency Fatima Maada Bio expressed happiness to be, in what she described as this all-important hospital that is so dear to the President in order to render her support.
She said she is very impressed with the transformation and improvement made so far, thanking the team for their dedication to work in a facility like that, saying their job is one of the most difficult tasks or assignment in the country.
The First Lady also informed that it is the first time she is donating to this facility in person promising that she will continue to do so. She said His Excellency the President is dedicated to see more improvement as she looks forward to working with the Management of the hospital as she is thinking about more ways to help in improving the facility.
First Lady Fatima Bio concluded by saying mental illness should be prioritized as individuals do not want to see anyone within their family to be mentally ill incapacitated. She said: “As a nation we have to take care for our citizens with mental illness”.