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Page last updated at 07:46 GMT, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 08:46 UK

Diary: Sierra Leone slum medic

Children in Kroo Bay

Medical staff at a clinic in the coastal slum of Kroo Bay, in Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, have been keeping a diary of their working lives for the BBC News website.

Here, Adama Gondor, who runs the clinic, describes a case of domestic violence.


We have a problem with violence in a part of this community - there is a small part that is inhabited mainly by young men with nothing to do. Some are gamblers and others petty criminals.

They often get into fights with each other or they fight their girlfriends and wives, then they come here to be treated.

Adama Gondor
Adama is afraid she will be attacked one day
They live in a small area that has been reclaimed from the sea. They continue to build shacks with no foundation on top of the rubbish.

New people are always moving there and the shacks get closer and closer to the sea. They are very rude to us and often insult us.

The other day a man came in with a three-year-old girl.

The man had been fighting with his wife and he had tried to throw a big stone at her, but he missed and hit the little girl's arm.

The girl was crying. I examined her and realised that it was a fracture, and advised him to take the child to the hospital.

First he refused, saying he was sure the arm was only strained, but then I guess he took her because I have seen the child around the community with a plaster cast.

The child was in a lot of pain and I was really angry with this man.

He was very abusive to me, telling me it was an accident - that he had meant to hit his wife.

When I told him he should not be hitting his wife, he told me it was his right. He was so abusive I had to ask him to leave.

One of these days some of these people may attack us, but they are just a minority of the Kroo Bay residents.

Cholera

People in Freetown often talk badly about the people who live here - they look on them as inferior.

They judge them because of the environment they live in, but what they don't realise is, it is not the residents' fault.

View of Kroo Bay

Most of the rubbish in the river here doesn't come from the people here, it comes from people in Freetown who put their garbage in the river and then it all washes down here with the rain.

We are also preparing for the rains - the ministry is bringing us emergency supplies for diarrhoea cases and we will start an awareness campaign soon.

We want to get the message to the community that if you have diarrhoea three times in a row you must go straight to the clinic because it could be cholera.

Last year cholera killed more than 20 people here so we need to get the message out.

I was not here last rainy season, but I have been told by my superiors that know this area that in the rainy season I will work and work till I drop - that's how bad the situation is.

Save the Children has launched an interactive website where Kroo Bay residents answer questions about their lives. Visitors will be able to access 360-degree images of the site, and catch up with the latest news from the slum through regular "webisodes".


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