By Mohamed Massaquoi
Programme Manager of Health For All Coalition (HFAC) has expressed serious concern over what he referred to as “the rampant destruction by fire of health facilities across the country”, thus calling on the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Ms. Miatta Kargbo, to give a detailed account of the recent fire accident that engulfed the Central Medical Stores in Freetown.
Alhassan Bakarr Kamara, in an exclusive interview with Concord Times, commended the efforts of the National Fire Force (NFF) and the Sierra Leone Police for putting out the fire thereby preventing other stores, offices and valuable medical equipment from being destroyed.
“The quick response by the NFF helped to save lives and other properties,” said Mr. Kamara. “We further thank the Sierra Leone Police for their swift response to maintain law and order during the incident. However, we have noticed that the burning of medical facilities across the country is becoming a common trend. Some months back, the maternity ward at the Kenema Government Hospital was burnt down without any explanation from the authorities concerned.
“This development is dangerous for the government of Sierra Leone and development partners who are always in support of the free health care. We therefore want the health minister to be accountable for all that is happening to our health facilities.”
Kamara added that in order to prevent incidences of such nature in future and to ensure the safety of government and donor partners’ investments in the health sector, his organization (Health For All Coalition) is urging the ministry to investigate and come up with a statement on the actual cause of the fire incident at the Medical Stores, and with a clear roadmap on how to prevent similar occurrences in our medical facilities across the country in the future.
“We want the minister to present to the general public, including civil society and the media, the quantity and cost of the drugs that were destroyed during the incident. We also want the ministry to ensure that all electrical connections within our medical facilities, including Medical Stores, are properly maintained to ensure safety at all times. All wooding stores at the Central Medical Stores and other similar stores across the country should be replaced with modern storage facilities,” he demanded, adding that officials of the ministry should ensure that there is free flow of information so that Sierra Leoneans can better understand what is happening in the ministry.
“We are always committed to working with the ministry to ensure that proper medical services are provided to the people of Sierra Leone. We cannot achieve effective medical services without collective collaboration with civil society, the ministry of health and other development partners,” he concluded.