Today, FCC, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and NACOVERC, launched the Armed Forces Training Centre (AFTC) Community Care Centre (CCC) at Benguema, Waterloo. The launch was made official by a symbolic ribbon-cutting ceremony by Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr and Mr Abdul-Rahman Fofanah, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health in the presence of Councillors of FCC, several partners from NACOVERC, EU, DfID, MSF, Concern, CRS, Red Cross, RSLAF, and our sister council, WARD-C amongst others.
The CCC was conceived as a facility primarily for patients from Freetown’s informal settlements who cannot be isolated safely elsewhere and it is part of FCC’s COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan, which supports Sierra Leone’s National COVID-19 response. The CCC comes at a crucial time when other sites like the Fourah Bay College that had been repurposed to respond to COVID-19 are being converted back to their original use.
The CCC, established in Benguema after no suitable site was found in Western Area Urban, has 180 beds, medical equipment and a range of social amenities to ensure the safety and comfort of patients of all ages.
The establishment of the CCC has been a multi stakeholder project managed by jointly by the NACOVERC and FCC. The centre will be manned by clinical and non-clinical staff, specially selected by MOHS for the role. The infrastructural improvements required to re-purpose AFTC as a CCC, food for patients and some of the centre’s running costs have been funded by the EU and DFID, coordinated by partners CONCERN, CRS and the SL Red Cross.
The Centre’s staff has received thorough training jointly by NACOVERC, MOHS, SLRC and MSF. The centre has full community buy-in, with many staff drawn from local communities. The CCC has been fully re-purposed with uninterrupted water supply, drainage, sanitation and medical equipment and is anticipated to be operational for at least 5 months.