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United Methodists assessing health needs in Sierra Leone

. 1 min read
Kowama Village chief and pastor Joseph Tommy (third standing from left) leads prayers before the community meeting starts. Photo by Phileas Jusu, UMNS
Photo by Phileas Jusu, UMNS

Kowama Village chief and pastor Joseph Tommy (third standing from left) leads prayers before the community meeting starts.
By Phileas Jusu
Oct. 14, 2015 ǀ MANJAMA, Sierra Leone (UMNS)
A team of United Methodist health workers arrived in this village near Bo during the rainy season. The clouds battled to keep the sun from shining. The sun occasionally beat the clouds and peeped through the “sky windows” to send warming rays.
“Awao! Awa!” (“Come on! Come!”) Mohamed Goma, the village head, called as a teenager repeatedly hits an old suspended railroad metal that serves as a bell to call the community. “Bring your own seats,” Goma said, Because the small village community hall lacks enough seats for all attendees, people are encouraged to bring their own.
Slowly, the small community hall fills up. Pregnant women, nursing mothers, men and children arrive, some with benches. Others sit on mud bricks in the corner of the hall.
The meeting began the process of engaging the community with health workers who are assessing needs for a newly approved community-based healthcare program funded by Curamericas Global in eight villages in the Bo District. The new program uses home visits, health education and care groups to monitor health and ensure care.