BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – In Grand Bassa’s fifth electoral district of 27,000 people, there are a few health facilities operated by the government, the Catholic Church, and Equatorial Palm Oil company. However, a persistent lack of drugs at those facilities – particularly at the government-owned ones – often forces residents to travel long distances.
The district’s newly elected representative, Thomas Goshua, says he wants to solve this problem. He told The Bush Chicken he is currently working with his Gbokpayou Foundation for 24 containers of drugs from the U.S. to be brought to supply all the clinics within his district every two years. Added to the drugs distributed by the government, Goshua believes that there should no longer be shortages after this deal is concluded.
He said the frequent lack of drugs at health facilities forces district residents to travel to Buchanan, a cost-intensive trip. Goshua said the impact of an improved health care system would be wide-reaching, affecting the economy of the district.
Furthermore, as a fulfillment of campaign promises he made, Goshua has announced that he is constructing a US$471,000 25-bed health center in the district. He said when the center is completed, it will alleviate some of the health problems district residents currently face. Additionally, Goshua believes residents in nearby River Cess will benefit as well.
While he has not raised all the funds necessary to construct the facility, Goshua told The Bush Chicken that he would be lobbying with local and international partners to fund the health center, adding that he hopes it is completed within three years.
“We are also negotiating with some of our partners, using our lobbyist powers that have been afforded to us as legislators, to see how we can get people in that will also assist with that project,” he said.
Goshua said over three tons of sand and 100 bags of cement have already been brought to the construction site to immediately begin molding blocks for the construction.
The lawmaker said he wants to bring attention to the health care system in the district and plans to soon hold a consultative meeting with citizens to discuss several projects to be undertaken in the district.
A resident of the district who lives in Gio Town, Odada Geebioh, said the construction of the health center will be a relief for residents. He cited the frequent lack of drugs at clinics as a serious problem.
However, Goshua may find additional problems to resolve with the health system besides the shortage of drugs: Geebioh said the poor connectivity of the district often hinders access to care.
“Most often, what the people do is that they bring the patients on hammocks,” he said, adding that patients are sometimes also brought on motorcycles.
He explained that if the health center is completed, residents will recommend that the county authority purchase ambulances with their portion of the county social development funds to transport patients without delay.
Goshua himself said he recognizes the challenges, adding that his district is the least developed in Grand Bassa, not only in road connectivity but also in education and healthcare. He said there is a need to encourage citizens to get involved in developing the district.
Featured photo by Sampson David