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As he launches $15 U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative…

President Koroma warns against use of health facilities as business centres

November 20, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie and Ransford Felix

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President Ernest Bai Koroma has strongly warned against the use of health facilities across the country as business centres by some heath workers.

The President gave the warning last Friday at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown while delivering the keynote address at the official launch of the United States President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) for Sierra Leone.

Under the new malaria project, the government through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and the National Malaria Control Programme would help scale-up a comprehensive and integrated package of life saving interventions in communities.

The inclusion of Sierra Leone and four other African countries – Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Niger and Ivory Coast – was announced during the United Nations General Assembly in September this year.

The PMI’s US$15million support for the first year will include mosquito surveillance, malaria case management, monitoring and evaluation of impact and behavioural change communication activities.

In his statement, President Koroma urged health workers and other stakeholders to stand up against those who tend to put their hard work into a very bad light, and added that health care is a humanitarian service.

“No one should use the health facilities as business or income generating centres for service provider. The call of every health worker is to save lives and not to contribute to any loss of lives by any means,” he said.

He also warned that his government would be unsympathetic to anyone whose actions or inactions undermine the attainment of health sector goals.

While appreciating development partners’ effort in working assiduously to reduce the intolerable burden of malaria in Sierra Leone, the president noted that the PMI would undoubtedly have a major impact in the reduction of morbidity and maternal mortality rate in the country.

Earlier, United States Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Maria Brewer, stated that the PMI was being led by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented together with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

She said in order to save lives and reduce the public health burden the PMI seeks to work with the health ministry, partners and communities in implementing evidence-based malaria interventions.

According to her, by aligning with the health ministry’s strategic plan to control malaria, together, Sierra Leone and PMI will have the necessary tools to save lives and decrease the public health burden.

“Today, we celebrate the new partnership between PMI and the government of Sierra Leone. With the first year’s planned contribution of US$15million, PMI joins other donors and partners to expand access to proven and effective malaria prevention and control tools,” she said.

Health and Sanitation Minister Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah stressed that malaria is still the leading cause of illness and deaths in the country.

While noting that much work has been done in the past years, Dr. Fofanah underscored the fact that a lot more remains to be achieved as the country is still struggling to meet the Roll Back Malaria targets.

“There are still gaps in all of the key evidence based interventions that are critical in achieving malaria elimination and eradication,” he said and expressed optimism that they would be able to make accelerated progress in the collective fight against malaria.