Cannon Dr. Arthur D.O. Wright –  Sierra Leone’s only Ear Nose and Throat Surgeon dies aged 79

Dennis Kabatto

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 August 2017

The late Cannon, Dr. Arthur Dave Omopeh Wright, MD, of 8 Wright Drive, Marjay Town in Freetown, who prior to his retirement was Sierra Leone’s only ear, nose and throat surgeon specialist, passed away on Wednesday 26 July, 2017 in Virginia, USA.  He was aged 79.

His son Davey confirmed his death without specifying the cause of death. Dr. Wright is an alumnus of the Sierra Leone Grammar School in Freetown.  He earned his medical degree in Kiel, Germany. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh; as well as a Fellow of the West African College of Surgeons

He returned to Sierra Leone in 1967 to work after his medical training in Europe.  And in 2002, he was appointed Ministry of Health Services (MOHS) Coordinator, Community Based Steering Committee to implement the U.S Agency for international Development (USAID) sponsored Omega Initiative for National Strategy for the Development of Prosthetics and Orthotics, and to provide quality rehabilitative services to civilian victims of war, while extending services in areas that weren’t encompassed.

On April 27, 2007 Dr. Wright was awarded Grand Commander of the Order of the Rokel by former President of Sierra Leone, Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah in recognition of his colossal contribution in the field of medicine, medical education and his services as medical practitioner, an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon and lecturer at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, Sierra Leone.

As a staunch campaigner against the “brain drain” of medical practitioners in Sierra Leone, he advocated for the government to address the medium and long-term needs of medics, to improve health services and training so as to stop the departure of medical professionals who were fleeing Sierra Leone to western countries for better pay.

During an interview in 2009 on the state of health infrastructure and medical professionals in Sierra Leone, he told the Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) that: “Many of the colleagues who trained with me, left during our country’s civil crisis.  Brain drain is still a tremendous problem, we lose a lot of doctors to the United States, Saudi Arabia and England every Year.”

Adding, “Even with about 1,000 enrollees at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences and 15 to 20 physicians graduating every year, 75 percent of them will leave the country.  They cannot make a living from the government salary of $100 per month,” said Dr. Wright.

When questioned why he hadn’t left Sierra Leone to go after better paying medical jobs, Dr. Wright said, “This is my country, I have to give service to my people,” which he did for over four decades.

He is survived by his wife Pamela, Children: Arthur, Jeremy and Dave Jr.  Sisters: Mrs. Agnes Macrae and Mrs. Audrey Mason.  Brother: Dr. Molly Wright.

A Memorial Service and viewing will be held on Saturday, August 12, 2017 from 9:00 am – 10:00 am.  And a Celebration of Life Service is at 10:30 am at the Word of Life Church located at 5225 Backlick Road in Springfield, Virginia, USA 22151

Funeral Services will be held on Sunday, August 27, 2017 at St. Georges Cathedral in Freetown, Sierra Leone.  Interment is at Race Course Road Cemetery, Freetown.

For more information call: (678) 755-6399/ (703) 399-0617

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