Seibatu Keifala Ngolahun

"Seibatu Keifala- Ngolahun community in Peje Bongre chiefdom, Kailahun district"

The sun had set when we visited Seibatu Keifala who was seated in front of her house with her mother and children having a conversation. Seibatu was born in Panguma in Kenema but relocated with her husband Keifala Momoh to Ngolahun in Peje Bongre chiefdom, Kailahun district about 20 years ago. With a beautiful smile welcomed us to her home and was very enthusiastic to share her story on how she has been able to take care of herself and her son who suffered from hernia through the Health Insurance scheme.

Seibatu Keifala is a farmer and also a petty trader who sells food and other cooking condiments. In 2019, she was introduced to the Health Insurance Scheme under the Irish Aid Project Grant funded by Irish Aid through Christian Aid implemented by SEND Sierra Leone. The Health Insurance scheme seeks to unite community residents, stimulate them into contributing their own resources and using these monies to promptly access and address their health problems in their communities.

She is a member of a community group consisting 40 members under the scheme. The group includes women-playing a pivotal role, men and youth and each member is required to make a contribution ranging from five thousand to ten thousand Leones which is paid every Friday during their weekly meetings. She has benefited from the trainings on the health insurance scheme and has also supported herself to pay her children’s school fees and expand her business with loans received from the scheme

Seibatu was diagnosed with high blood pressure and fell seriously ill in late 2019 but could not raise all the funds needed to buy her drugs because she sells on a small-scale basis.

Pictures above: Ngolahun, Seibatu pose with her son.

“When I went to my neighbors for loans, they will wait until after my explanation and then tell me, I am sorry I cannot help you at the moment. This left me frustrated and worsened my situation. But then the thought came to mind! I reached out to my community group members and I was loaned 500,000 Leones. How reassuring it was that I can now get access to better medical care”, she expressed. A month after recovery, she paid the loan with an interest of 50,000((an interest of 10,000 is paid on every 100,000 Leones loaned)”,

“Those months were challenging for me, as soon as I fully recovered, my 1st son who was constantly complaining stomach ache was diagnosed with hernia and needed urgent medical attention. He was gravely sick but then, I wasted no time because I was hopeful that my problem was solved. I borrowed a sum of 500,000 Leones again from the Health Insurance box together with my savings. I was able to pay for all the medical bills of my son and he has regained his strength. Just look at him, she pointed at him lovingly, he is all hale and hearty. I am beyond short of words for the health scheme. I would have been disgraced and who knows what would have happened to my son if we didn’t have access to the box. I am thankful to SEND and the donor Irish Aid and Christian Aid. This scheme is life changing!” Seibatu expressed with beams of smile."