Baindu Gbessay

"Baindu Gbessay-Mamboma, Peje Bongre chiefdom, Kailahun District"

As we rode along the bumpy roads to Mamboma in Peje Bongre chiefdom, one can hear the birds chirping and the sound of power saws taking down trees for timber. Mamboma is a community in ward 27, Constituency 010 in Peje Bongre chiefdom about 8 miles from the chiefdom headquarter town, Manowa. It has a population of about 896 with about 180 households. Residents are mostly engaged in groundnut, cassava and rice cultivation. Even though they have access to water facilities with a community health centre, one has to stand at points to get a telecommunication signal.

The Health Insurance scheme under the Irish Aid Project Grant was introduced to Mamboma in 2019 and community residents have benefitted from it. Women have now have access good healthcare and also loans to expand their businesses and invest in agriculture

Baindu Gbessay, 43, is among 40 women and men who contribute to the Health Insurance Scheme in Mamboma community. She sells palm oil and also embarks on agricultural activities such as cultivating groundnuts and cassava. About 3 months ago, Baindu was heading to her farm when she stepped on a thorn that led to the right sole of her foot getting swollen. “This accident caused me a lot of pain and made me helpless as I was unable to work and was restless due to the amount of pain I was in.My husband who is into masonry did everything for me. From carrying me from one place to another to helping me bath to cooking and taking care of the kids”, she narrated.

They used their savings to help her get access to better healthcare but could not afford all the medical bills to buy the necessary drugs needed. She borrowed 300,000 Leones from the health insurance scheme to enable her purchase the necessary drugs for her feet.

As she walks, one could feel the pain on her feet as she presses down to walk. She relies on a wooden stick for support. “Comparing myself since I had this accident 3 months ago till date, I am thankful for this health insurance scheme. It is life changing! I could barely walk but now but I take steps now and in no time, I will be back on my feet”, Baindu noted with reassurance in her eyes. When I sit at my shop and people come to buy, I sensitize them about the importance of being a part of this health insurance and some have even started contributing towards this scheme. My sincere thanks to SEND Sierra Leone, Irish Aid and Christian Aid for this support”, Baindu expressed