Gbarpolu County – A resolution to construct 5 health facilities in Gbarpolu County has been adapted and signed by 56 delegates from the six administrative districts at the 2016/2017 County Council Sitting held in Bopolu City, from the 26 to 27th day of August 2016.
The budget law of Liberia mandates that funds allotted to a county for the purpose of development shall be determined and expressed in a resolution by a county council.
The council sitting is part of the government decentralization process which empowers citizens in their respective county throughout the 15 subdivision of Liberia to decide the use of 200,000.00USD allotted in the national budget.
The US$260,166.00 committed to clinics construction by Gbarma, Kongba and Bokomu districts delegates represents 23.43% of the unspecified US$1,110,163.00 County Development Funds (CDF) and Social Development Funds (SDF) allotted in past resolutions.
Delegates from Gbarma agreed to use US$40,000.00 for the construction of clinic in Dewah Clan in Gbarma health district. They also allotted US$65,000.00 and US$71,000.00 for the construction of clinics in Zuie and Normon Datondo Town respectively.
As for the council members from Bokomu District, they committed US$39,166.00 for clinic project in Morlakkwelleh Town and US$45, 000.00 to erect health facility in Forkpa Town, both in Bokomu health district in the county.
Gbarpolu County Health Team (GCHT) operates 15 functional health facilities in five health district in Gbarpolu County.
Delegates prioritized easy access to health
In an effort to providing easy access to health services in hard to reach communities in Gbarpolu, delegates at the sitting also allotted in the resolution US$514,498.00 for new road construction which constitutes 46.38% of the CDF and SDF, while, the balance of 30.13% goes to the construction of the county’s radio station.
US$75,166.00 was allocated for the construction of 15 Kilometers road from Kungbor to Zuie Town, and US$153,166.00 was also allotted for another road to connect Belle Yelleh to Belle Baloma.
And for Bokomu and Guo-Nwolalai districts council men, they adopted resolution for a new road to connect both district from Morlakwelleh town in Bokomu district to Palakwelleh town in Gou-Nwolalai town. The decisions were reached due to the absence of a motor road connecting Guo-Wolalai district to the rest of the county, something that poses constraints for locals seeking health care.
The county inspector, Madam Musu Jabeteh commended the delegates for considering road to zuie town in Kongba District. “At least people from that end will have new road and clinic. Their own people have taken health services to them, I am so happy about this sitting this year,” she told a LocalVoicesLiberia reporter.
Kongba is one of the hard to reach districts boarding Sierra Leone; it has one health facility that provides services to over 16,000 people.
After heated debate, 30 out of 56 delegates voted in favor of the construction of a community radio station in Bopolu City. US$164,000.00 was allotted for the construction of ‘Voice of Gbarpolu’. The new community radio station, when constructed, will help disseminate health messages to locals in the area.
Locals Expressing Appreciation
A delegate of Gbarma District, Siafa V.G. Konneh said although there are four clinics in the district it is important that more health facilities are built. “We think by doing this will address some of the untimely death and many constraints faced by big belly women in that clan,” he said.
And an excited Commissioner told reporters that prioritizing health at the sitting was‘great news’ for his people back home. “I will go Kongba with good news”, Commissioner Richard M. Filijouh said. “If these two clinics are built in the district it will help the county health team in rendering fast and timely health care to our citizens.”
Locals are upbeat about the significant allotment given to the health sector. During community radio talk shows, they opined that the huge allotment will help curb the challenges the sector faces.
Said James Kollie of Bopolu: “With the addition of 5 clinics, I think will help to boast the health system of the county”.
For Lorpu Flomo, the decision is a relief for mothers living in these hard-to-reach areas where there few clinics. “Mothers in those areas will be happy small about the clinic news we are hearing…; let me also say is good to have one radio for sharing of healthy information to our people”.
Development Funds Sliced
Senator Daniel Flomo Naathan, Sr. told locals that the social development fund from Western Cluster – a mining company in the county – has been cutoff due to the global financial crisis, also he warned that the impending fiscal allocation to counties will be reduced from US$200,000 to US$125,000.
For his part, Senator Armah Jallah, who presided over the county sitting warned that “no one Senator or lawmaker can commit such a huge money to (the county) development.”
He thanked the delegates for been mindful of how they have appropriated money that will have positive impact on their lives especially in the area of health care services adding that the decision was locals’ contribution to the resilient health system of Liberia.
The implementation of projects is expected to start during the dry season and projects will be overseen by the project management committee (PMC) of the County. Some people in the county are expressing fear over the implementation of the resoluted projects considering the abandonment of four major projects.
Report By: Henry Gboluma, Jr.
Editor’s Note: This story was earlier published by FrontPage Africa on its website and print edition. LocalVoicesLiberia is proud to partner with FrontPageAFrica in lifting the voices of Liberians across the country.