D3.6M Renovation of Nyakoi Kerewan Health Post on Hiatus

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The main building of Nyakoi Kerewan Health Post

By: Foday Manneh

The renovation of the Nyakoi Kerewan health post in the Upper River Region by the Ministry of Health, which began in mid-2020, has hit the ceiling, with commuters alleging the contractor of embezzling project funds.

The project, which cost D3.6 million, was agreed to completion seven months from the start, but this timing has gone beyond schedule as the works become a three-year-old renovation.

“The contractor left the work unfinished and left. He promised to come and finish the project, but we’ve not seen anything. He did that multiple times,” a member of the hospital management committee, Njundu Konteh, told TAT.

The health post was first constructed 15 years ago thanks to a native of the village based in the United Kingdom, who, with his wife, provided a life-changing healthcare facility for their people.

According to the chairman of the management committee, Lamin Sillah, the health post has been instrumental to the lives of Nyakoi Kerewan residents and surrounding villages, adding that communities from Senegal also come to the hospital for their health needs.

“The hospital was beneficial. However, the people of this area are very much vulnerable to access a hospital. We used to have many people die because of the challenges in accessing Basse or Yero Bawol for health needs,” Lamin said.

“We have villages coming from Senegal to seek healthcare services here. The health post was prominent around this area because patients need only to buy appointment tickets, and the rest are given for free. The medicines, too, are imported from the UK, and sometimes we supply both Basse and Yero Bawol,” the chairman recounted.

After a heavy windstorm significantly destroyed the structure in 2019, the Health Ministry promised to renovate the space to provide better healthcare services to the people of Nyakoi and neighboring villages.

In 2020, the Minister of Health, Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, and some health officials visited the place to announce the commencement of renovation works, including the building of staff quarters and a perimeter fence.

Staff quarters of Nyakoi Kerewan Health Post

Dr. Samateh told the people of the area at the time that the renovation of the health post was initially delayed by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic but assured them of plans to renovate the facility for a more conducive environment to provide much-needed healthcare services.

Meanwhile, it is three years since work began at the health post. The hospital management has yet to learn why the result of 7 months was delayed until now.

The community, however, argues that the contractor embezzled the funds.

“The government has taken ownership of the hospital and promised to build everything for us. So they should do what is needed to set it up again, but since the project started, our health has been affected,” a native of the village said.

The exterior of Nyakoi Kerewan health post

“The contractor has eaten the money, so we are urging the Ministry to look for a new contractor and help us,” he added.

TAT tried to speak to the health Ministry about the project, but our attempts proved unsuccessful.

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