May 17, 2017 By Kadrie Koroma
Deputy Health and Sanitation Minister II, Madam Zuliatu Cooper, has officially opened a four-day 2017 Annual Conference and Scientific Symposium of the Sierra Leone Nurses Association (SLNA) on Thursday, May 11, 2017, at the Holy Trinity Parish Hall in Kenema.
Addressing the opening session, Madam Zuliatu Cooper described the role of nurses in reducing maternal and infant mortalities in Sierra Leone as timely, as the government of President Koroma has prioritized it as a flagship programme.
She informed her audience that the conference creates an opportunity to share issues and learn from best practice on the international stage, and hoped the week will move nurses forward collectively to ensure that every institution was doing more to fulfil its obligation to providing high quality nurses working with clinical colleagues in the right place, right time and right skills to provide the best health care available.
Madam Cooper reiterated that the conference also offers opportunity for nurses to look and share ongoing work to tackle the national issues in health human resources and the need for programmes to support each other to have a formidable workforce capacity.
The Deputy Minister stated that family planning is key if they were to reduce maternal and infant’s mortalities in Sierra Leone, by providing girls with just one extra year of schooling that can increase their wages as much as 20 percent.
She said to achieve the Agenda for Prosperity which addresses the provision of quality service delivery for all citizens, there was need for change of attitude for nurses, adding that as a ministry, they recognize the roles play by nurses and will continue to give support through the Directorate of Nursing Services and Human Resources respectively.
The Deputy Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Matron Mary Fullah said nurses are celebrating the 194th anniversary of a legend and icon, Florence Nightingale considered the founder of the modern nursing profession.
She reminded nurses that this is the time for them to go back to the ancient days of Florence Nightingale and meet the ideals to re-examine and rethink of how they practice their profession.
She told the gathering that the Ministry of Health is embarking on a lot of reforms to changing the image of nursing and improving on the health outcomes of the people, adding that nurses and midwives are expected to provide competency-based quality services at all levels with compassion, care, determination and dedication.
The President of the Sierra Leone Nurses Association, Mr. Senesie Magao speaking on the theme: “The Role of Nurses in Reducing Maternal and Infants Mortalities” described nurses as a force for change and encouraged them to demonstrate professionalism with passion, care and love in the discharge of their duties.
He said although there are challenges in the nursing profession, but wants to see staff works in the health facilities, receive members of the public with respect and dignity, and provide assistance with empathy.
Mr. Magao pleaded for better condition of services and motivation for nurses which will give them zeal and power to work in remote areas, and advocated for health staff to receive apathetic injection as it is in the increase in the sub region.
The Principal, National School of Midwifery and Chairperson for the opening session, Dr. Joan Shepherd said as nurses they need to be enrich to deliver quality, comprehensive and respectful care to women, the unborn child, newborns and the community as a whole.
She noted that midwifery is a specialized field that extends services to pregnant women, young adolescents and newborns, a responsibility for which nurses are charged with as they work closely with midwives in maternity settings.
Other highlights include statements from WHO Field Coordinator, Kenema, Dr. Mukesh Prajapati, the Chief Administrator, Kenema City Council, Vivian Senesie and the Dean, Eastern Polytechnic, Faculty of Nursing, Dr. Bockarie Vandi.