- Health and Sanitation Minister
April 11, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Minister of Health and Sanitation has stated that an accurate and reliable diagnosis was the corner stone of disease prevention, management and control.
Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah was speaking last Thursday (7 April) during the official launch of the Rapid Laboratory Assessment Report and Sierra Leone Clinical Laboratory Operating Procedures at the Grassroots Gender Empowerment Movement (GGEM) hall in Freetown.
He said laboratories provide the bulk of available diagnostic techniques and are indispensable in healthcare delivery, adding that a functional and effective national laboratory structure and network requires guidance and support of laid down policies.
“A reliable and properly organised laboratory system not only generates information critical to individual case management, but also to disease surveillance and control. In a bid to strengthen our medical diagnostic laboratory service, we have initiated a review of the National Laboratory Strategic Plan (2011-2015) that will provide a framework for strengthening laboratory services in the country,” he said.
Dr. Fofanah explained that the rapid assessment of laboratory capacity and system was undertaken by the Directorate of Hospitals and Laboratory Services, with technical support from Options Consultancy Services to ensure that the laboratory review was informed by current evidence and the prevailing context in Sierra Leone.
The findings, he said, provide an insight into existing laboratory capacity in the country, and factors that need to be addressed for the long-term improvement of the laboratory system.
He opined that the document will serve as an essential resource in developing a National Laboratory Strategic Plan, which when implemented, would benefit the health sector and wellbeing of citizens.
The Health Minister commended leadership provided by the Directorate of Hospitals and Laboratory Services, and thanked all partners that supported the development of the document.
Also, Manager of the National Laboratory Services, Dr. Abdul Kamara, said the report recommended that the human resource system for laboratory personnel should be strengthened.
He said bio safety policies and procedures should be established and laboratories able to comply with these policies to ensure the safety of medical laboratory personnel, as well as communities and the environment.
“Laboratory supply chain system needs strengthening to prevent interruption of service as a result of insufficient equipment,” he recommended.
Country Representative of Options Consultancy Services, Dr. Mohamed Yilla, assured of their commitment to continue working alongside the ministry to improve laboratory services through better coordination, data for decision making and flexible technical support.