DECEMBER 5, 2014
The Directorate of Policy, Planning and Information in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation has held a one-day National Health Accounts 2013 validation workshop at the Hill Valley Hotel in Freetown.
Delivering the opening remarks, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sarian Kamara, said the workshop would validate the 2013 National Health Accounts as they strive to provide equitable, affordable and quality health services for all Sierra Leoneans.
Dr. Kamara reminded participants that the major driver of most interventions in the health sector is financial resources, thus priority should be given to where money is channeled and to where priorities are laid.
She added that the ability to track the flow of money in the health sector is fundamental to improve accountability to citizens, noting that the Health Accounts Survey is an annual accounting process geared towards tracking and compiling health expenditure flows in the country.
She described it as a tool for health sector management and policy development that measures total public, private and donor health expenditures, adding that it tracks all expenditure flows from sources of funds to financing agents, service providers and public health functions.
Dr. Kamara further told participants that their contribution and input to the workshop can offer future direction and completeness of the National Health Accounts 2013 Report and contribute to the post-Ebola Strategy.
Director of Policy, Planning and Information, Abu Bakarr Kamara, reiterated that the National Health Accounts is an additional tool used to track expenditures on health by both the public and private sectors and development partners.
He said the validation is aimed at looking into preliminary results of the National Health Accounts 2013, and to give recommendations to guide and develop a robust health financial strategy in Sierra Leone.
Giving an overview of the preliminary results, Health Economist at the Health Financing Unit, Noemi Schramm, said the total health expenditure in 2013 was over Le.3 trillion, which equals about US$720 million.
This, she said, means that each Sierra Leonean consumed health service valued nearly Le500,000 in 2013, about US$116.
Schramm informed participants that with disease burden, most of the money was spent on reproductive healthcare and malaria treatment.
Speaking on the trend, Health Economist Desmond Conteh disclosed that the total health expenditure increased over the last years, with a reduction in donors’ share.
Dilating on disease burden, Health Economist Mohamed Kamara told participants that most prevalent diseases are malaria, common cold, and pregnancy-related complications.
Kamara disclosed that 68% of the population that were sick got medical help, but were unable to continue their usual daily activities, adding that only 2% of people were admitted to a hospital in the last four weeks.
The overall 1.4%, he said, reported some sort of disability.