Assuring Health Care in Guinea
It used to be that if you fell ill in Pela, a community in southeast Guinea, you would have travel 19 miles to the nearest health center in Yomou.
It hadn’t always been this way. At one time, Pela had its own health center. After it was destroyed by a fire, the villagers had no choice but to make the journey to Yomou to seek medical attention. The situation was especially difficult for pregnant women who needed immediate medical assistance.
Realizing the strain being put on the community, Plan began construction on a new health center for the villagers.
After a few months of construction work, the facility was inaugurated last month amid community fanfare and celebration. The health center will cater to more than 5,000 people living in and around central Pela.
In addition to basic health care, the services range from treatments for tropical diseases and simple surgeries to pre- and postnatal consultations and child delivery. A local resident told Plan how thrilled she was to live next to the new health center.
“Now I can take my baby to get treatment without having to travel. I really suffered during my pregnancy, as I had to go all the way to Yomou for consultations. I paid a lot of money for transport and it took me two days to get there. I thank Plan for this new health center.”
Although it was Plan who had provided the funding and support for the center, the community itself played a huge role in its construction. The community had sourced all of the materials and workmen needed to build the center. These workmen included masons, loaders, and construction site managers. Their involvement not only cut the cost of the project by 20 percent, but also created many jobs within the community and gave its residents a true sense of achievement and spirit.
The center is managed and run by the community alongside the government’s Health and Hygiene Committee. The head of the health center, André Haba, thanked Plan for their help in constructing this sorely needed health center.
“The construction of this new center is a relief both for me and for the community of Pela. Since the fire that destroyed our health center several months ago, we were forced to send patients to Yomou, 19 miles from here. The road is very bad and takes it several hours to get to Yomou. The patients would arrive exhausted. It was particularly difficult for pregnant women, especially when they needed medical assistance to give birth. We are truly proud of the new center that Plan has made available to us.”