By Foday Moriba Conteh
During a well-attended ceremony held on Monday 30th January, 2023 at the Connaught Hospital in Freetown, the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr Austin Demby, handed over the construction site for the construction of an Ultra-Modern Burns Unit at the Connaught Government Hospital to the Managements of NP-Sierra Leone and Leoneoil.
The proposed Ultra-Modern Burns Unit at Connaught Hospital will be constructed by NP-Sierra Leone and Leone oil as part of the Corporate Social Responsibilities of the two companies.
Delivering a statement, the Managing Director of Leone oil, Ibrahim Cole, said the move by the two companies is in fulfillment of their Corporate Social Responsibility in the country.
He added that the Burns Unit, when completed, will contribute towards the development of the health sector in the country, adding that after the 5thNovember, 2021 petrol fuel tanker fire disaster in the East End of Freetown, that consumed so many lives, they saw the need for the country to have a Burns Unit.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of NP-Sierra Leone, Kobi Walker, said that the 5thNovember, 2021 was a sad day for Sierra Leone when the Wellington fire disaster occurred after an explosion of a Tanker vehicle resulting to an engulfing fire disaster that claimed 154 lives and left many injured.
He said that as a company they visited virtually all the hospitals where the victims were hospitalized adding that in the wake of the disaster they realized that the country lacks a facility to take care of burns.
Kobi Walker pointed out that when Ibrahim Cole, the Managing Director of Leoneoil mentioned the idea to NP Sierra Leone that there is a great need for the two companies to partner with Connaught Hospital to construct a Burns Unit at the facility, NP Sierra Leone Management decided to sacrifice virtually all of the amount they had assigned for its Corporate Social Responsibility to the proposed Burns Unit maintaining how they are with the strong conviction that the Burns Unit is much more needed in the country.
He said they want to ensure that whenever there are burns anywhere in the country, there is a facility to treat victims.
“NP Sierra Leone, being the number one Oil Marketing Company in the country, we believe the pain and ache of every Sierra Leonean is ours. We believe that as a country we must support the socio-economic development of Sierra Leone. We are actually looking forward in the couple of months to be part of that team to hand over a Burns Unit to the Connaught Hospital,” he concluded.
In his address, the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Austin Demby, commended NP-Sierra Leone and Leoneoil for the construction of the proposed Burns Unit at Connaught Hospital.
He said that almost every week there are fire disasters in the country but said that what happened on the 5th November, 2021that caused over 100 deaths has never happened in the country and it was very difficult to manage.
Dr. Austin Demby said that the physical infrastructure that was required to manage cases were not available in the country, adding that it was difficult to have temperature control, AM control, Access control in the rooms because the country at that time doesn’t have a specialized Burns Unit.
He pointed out that after the incident the Government saw the need to have a specialized Burns Unit in the country, of which he said the Ministry of Health and Sanitation is very happy for the intervention of NP-Sierra Leone and Leoneoil for the construction of the Burns Unit in the country.