By Hassan Bruz
The Chairman of the St. John of God Catholic Health and Social Services Makeni, Rev. Bro. Michael, who also doubles as Provost of the St. John of God Campus and Head of the Nursing Department of the University of has influenced the construction of Schools and Community Health Centres at Mange Arce, as the Community is now blessed with both a Health Centre and Modern Primary School.
The School at Rofeikan is undeniably one of the most expensive in the Port Loko District. It has Self-contained Staff Quarters with a 24-hour Solar Powered Light and a Bore Hold Water supply system.
Even though all the Health Care and School Structures together with the other amenities have long been handed over to the Government of Sierra Leone as a support package to the Government from the Catholic Mission in a bid to enhance National Development, Rev. Bro. Michael Musa Koroma has continued to keep a close watch with regards how the Facilities were being handled by the Communities. He was at Mange Acre and Rofeikan Communities over the weekend on an unannounced visit.
The visit of Rev. Bro. Michael Koroma coincided with the digging of a Borehole Water Well at Mange Acre Community where Water has been a huge challenge for both the Health Workers and the Community as a whole. Despite the lack of notice, the Community was able to quickly mobilize to accord him a rousing welcome in total support of his untiring efforts in trying to improve the standard of living in those Localities. There were jubilations everywhere with Women and Children dancing and singing songs of praises. At Rofeikan where the Community Elders and other Stakeholders were equally glad to see Bro. Michael in their Localities. They quickly followed him to the School Compound where the Head teacher explained the positive impact the newly constructed School Facilities has brought on their Community.
It is said in the Holy Books and later propagated by the late Reggae King – Bob Marley that ‘Many are called but only few ones are chosen’. Although this could be referred to those that are righteous in following the Laws of Allah /God Almighty and how they could be ushered into his Paradise / Holy Kingdom, it has now become a living reality wherein those in Authority would want to direct their Subjects toward the path they perceived to be Righteous, while the Majority of them would prefer to go a different direction.
This Biblical adage can as well be vivid in Sierra Leone as in several other Countries. For instance, when His Excellency – President Dr. Julius Maada Bio gained Governance, he called on all and sundry to team up with his Government in trying to rebrand the Country. The President singled out Health, Education and Agriculture as his Flagship Program. Even though these are ambitious aspirations, there were high hopes that Sierra Leoneans would see them as a pleasant idea and would come on board to support him actualize the dreams, regardless the political differences in the Country.
But as indicated above, only a few People saw the need to team up with President Bio to develop this Nation. The St John of God Catholic Mission in Lunsar is one of those that have demonstrated unreserved support to the President and Government. As a Faith Based Institution, the Catholic Mission established the St. John of God Catholic Hospital popularly known as ‘the Mabessaneh Hospital of Lunsar’, which is undoubtedly one of the best Institutions in terms of Health Service Delivery in the Country and by extension, the Manor River Region. The Management of this Hospital took an active role in fight against Ebola and COVID 19. The performances of the St. John of God Hospital have been so remarkable that it clinched the Enviable April 2022 Best Faith Based Institution Health Summit Award that was organized by the Health Ministry.
It is worthy to note that Mabessaneh Hospital embarked on the conduct of Mobile Clinic in distant and hard to reach Places in a bid to avail medical services to the Inhabitants of those Localities. The Management of the Hospital further saw the need to establish a Nursing School which has now become one of the Campuses of the University of Makeni. Therefore, when Rev. Bro. Michael Musa Koroma became the Chief Executive Officer and Director of the St. John of God Catholic Hospital, who is also a Professional Nurse, he cultivated the habit of going along with the Mobile Teams to ensure that Medical Services were delivered on a Free of Cost Basis or at a Minimal Cost. He was enthused during those Outreach Programs, by what he saw at Mange Acre Section in the Marampa Chiefdom, Port Loko District.
The fact that these are highly deprived Communities became conspicuous one day, as he transverses from one Village to the other with some Partners, when it was realized that the living conditions of the Locals was so deplorable that they could hardly boast of safe drinking water. The Foreign Partners nearly burst into tears at what was referred to as a Community School at Rofeikan. The School was a roofless makeshift structure. There were no Benches and the overcrowded Pupils had to seat on the bear floor. Both their Uniform and Books will get wet whenever there was a downpour of rain. It was therefore pretty easy for Bro. Michael to convince the Mission and Development Partners that those Communities were in dare need of assistance.
Speaking in the capacity of a key beneficiary, the Head teacher said he now resides in a Self-contained Staff quarters and was yet to believe that the status of his family has been so much impacted, citing the invaluable opportunity to inhabit a building that contains almost every modern amenities including an uninterrupted water and electricity supplies in a deprived Locality, where the entire village now relies for fetching safe drinking water. Bro. Michael had cause to address the Gathering after every other nice thing was said about the St. John of God Catholic Mission and its Development Partners.
The Man of God said, he was highly impressed by the commitment displayed by Communities in ensuring that they owned and monitored the Facilities. He said it was very much pleasing to see that the Facilities were well kept, noting that such a show of caring has the potential to impress Donors to do more for the Communities.
The Man of God further used the moment to explain to the Natives that the St. John of God Catholic Mission is a Faith based Institution with a focus to salvage the Poor and Needy. He said that is the more reason they are collaborating with the Government; whose responsibility is to cater for the entire Nation. ‘The Management of the St. John God Catholic Health and Social Services is therefore pleased to support the Government of His Excellency – President Dr. Julius Maada Bio in his strikes to improve the Health and Educational Standards in the Country. The Mission is fully aware of the fact that it is an ambitious venture and our Mission will continue to give him all the required support’ – Bro. Michael assured the Locals amongst thunderous applauds.
Rev. Bro Michael Koroma is arguably one of the successful African Successors to the European Missionaries. He does not only possess a high level of discipline, but has also cultivated the milk of human kindness in a gentle character that is typical of a true man of God. These characteristics are evident in the manner he has conducted himself over the years and in different capacities. He assumed the positions of Director at the St. John of God Hospital in Lunsar and Director of the St. Augustine Province Brothers of the St. John of God, which comprised about 8 Countries including Ghana, Liberia, Zambia, Kenya and Mozambique at a tender age, he has always made his mark by either maintaining the set standards or enhancing remarkable improvements.
At the Mabessaneh Hospital for instance, Bro. Michael Koroma made sure there was a cordial working relationship amongst Staff and Workers. He further ensured that Medics were dedicated to duty and remained caring to the Unwell ones with no discrimination. To date, Mabessaneh is one of the very few Health Facilities in the Country where Care and Orderliness can be sensed even from a distance. It was during his tenure that the Safe Motherhood Home was built in a bid to addressing the plight of Pregnant Women in hard to reach and distant Areas with apparent complications. Pregnant Women now have the opportunity to stay for a few days under observation before and after delivery.
As a Professional Nurse and Chairman of the Executive of the Council of the Christian Health Association of Sierra Leone [CHASL] with a bank of Awards of Merits, including the ‘Fellowship of the Post Graduate College of Nursing/Midwifery, Sierra Leone Council of Post Graduate Colleges of Health Specialities and Fellowship Member of the West African College of Nursing [WACO], Rev. Bro. Michael Koroma propagated for the establishment of the St. John of God Nursing in Lunsar – an idea born out of the genuine desire to enhance quality Health Service in Rural Settings.
The Man of God was prevailed upon to serve in the capacity of Provost at this Nursing School which has now been subsumed to the University of Makeni and is now a Campus of the Department of Nursing. ‘My desire is to service Humanity, create room of opportunity for Young People to be able to choose a Career path, become trained and qualified so as to positively contribute to the Development of their Communities and the Nation as a whole’ – says Rev. Bro. Koroma