Dr. Barrie's Story
Dr. Mohamed Bailor Barrie is one of only five physicians serving the 450,000 people of Kono District, the epicenter of Sierra Leone’s recent conflict and the most underserved region of country. The son of a village tailor, Bailor grew up in unimaginable poverty and hunger. Inspired by his neighbor, a hardworking and dedicated nurse, he defied all odds to achieve the second highest score in the country on his high school completion examination—granting him a full scholarship to attend medical school in Freetown during the war. Each day he walked 14 miles to and from class. Unable to afford medical textbooks, he hand- copied his classmates’ books by candlelight. During the war he lost his father to a preventable disease and his mother was kidnapped by rebel forces, presumed dead for years. When violence came to Freetown, Bailor was forced to escape by dugout canoe under the cover of darkness to a refugee camp in neighboring Guinea.
While almost all of Bailor’s medical school colleagues fled abroad to better lives and better opportunities, he was the only graduate who chose to serve his country and people. As the co-founder and Chief Strategic Officer of Wellbody Alliance, Bailor has sacrificed everything for his commitment to social justice and wellbeing in what the UN has called “the least livable country in the world.” In a context of extremely limited health and social services and with the scarcest of resources, Bailor dedicates each day to the seemingly insurmountable challenge of bringing essential healthcare to Sierra Leone’s poorest people.