MOHS 1(ONE) YEAR REPORT CARD SHOWS PROGRESS AMIDST CHALLENGES
April 17, 2019
With SOLOMON ROGERS
MOHS PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER (PRO)
Barely a year in office, the current political leadership of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Professor Alpha Tejan Wurie and his Deputy Dr. Anthony Augustine Sandy ,backed by the Professional and administrative wings of the Ministry , has scored remarkable successes in the area of decentralizing quality service delivery.
In an innovative drive of the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Professor Emeritus Alpha T. Wurie during his maiden meeting with staff of the Ministry of Health on 7th May,2018, he was very much clear on his plans to bridge the wide gap that existed between the peripheral Health Unit and the headquarters, to which he pledged determination and commitment to achieve within six to two years tenure.
He is on record to have maintained that under his administration he will work hand in glove with staff and development partners to stop the people of Sierra Leone from dying from curable diseases but this ambitious vision is yet to be transformed to reality giving the high ignorance and poor hygiene practices among Sierra Leoneans especially those in the vulnerable communities.
He actually laid emphasis on inclusive wealth and development through quality health service delivery at Community, Chiefdom, District, Regional and National levels.
The Minister inherited several unfinished projects which he used his wealth of experience as both an academic, professional , entrepreneur and a season politician to review and perfect them in line with the New Direction .
Apart from the ongoing human resource development across all cadres of the sector, various infrastructural projects are in progress nationwide including the Kerry town 500 beds health village with modern equipment for emergency and other major health cases; oxygen factory; national blood Bank and National Ware House for safe preservation of drugs and other essential medical commodities.
Similarly 100 bed ultra-modern health facilities are near completion at Lumley, Kingharma Road, Macauley Street, Rokupa, Waterloo and Leicester communities.
On completion, these facilities will reduce burden on the main referral Hospitals of Connaught and Princess Christian Maternal Hospitals as the growing population of Freetown and Urbanization far outweigh these facilities.
Currently plans are underway to refurbish all regional Hospitals in Freetown, Bo, Kenema, PortLoko and Makeni. The Ministry has also advanced plans to forge Public, Private, and Partnership to boost quality health service delivery. The reason being that Government alone cannot do it, there should be a collaborative effort among government, partners and the private sector to put synergy together in order to transform sector.
In less than 12 months the Ministry has installed 220 solar power refrigerators with 293 motor bikes to enhance outreach programmes across the board.
The Free Healthcare initiative has not only been perfected and effective but has now been transformed to people’s ownership with direct involvement all stakeholders including: Civil Society Organizations, traditional authorities, media and beneficiaries on the distribution and general implementation process. Also, government had begun taken over the Free Health Care from donor driven to national ownership by providing 10% in 2018, 30% in 2019 and 50% funding respectively come 2020.
This is a clear indication that Free HealthCare like free education is free but not absolutely free because resources to procure drugs come from either our national tax payers or from other countries tax payers funds and therefore handled with care.
Government has revitalized cost recovery programme and free health care has been extended to Ebola Survivors and physically challenged persons and free medical examination to rape victims and prison imates.
Unlike the political past, in the current political dispensation accessibility to essential medical supplies by pregnant, lactating women and under 5 (five) children have increased by over 80% and hence reduction in maternal and infant mortality.
Of course routine immunization and vaccination and other antenatal care including malaria treatment for women and under five children have been scaled up over the past couple of months.
Under the Integrated Support Supervision in collaboration with the Health Management Information System , top Ministry Officials now work with Monitoring and Evaluation Officers in the field to provide on the spot check at all facilities to get first-hand information on progress and challenges in the sector with the view of enhancing proper planning to improve on services.
HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT
Under bi-lateral and multi-lateral understanding, the Ministry has initiated a number of human capacity development and programme for health service provider across all cadres to undertake both national and international training in paediatric, anaesthetic and reproductive healthcare. Apart from the 4000 on going recruitment of various health workers , additional 200 SECHN Nurses have been awarded scholarships to be upgraded to SRN level while Maternal and Community Health Aid are been encouraged to be upgraded to SECHN.
The Human Resource for Health has developed a rural area retention strategy and information system to motivate and track attendance to maximize service delivery.
Again the Ministry in less than 12 months has signed agreement for corps of expatriate Medics from Cuba, Nigeria and Southern Africa to come here to augment our national health professionals to address the perennial health issues.
Ministry has contracted the services of retired medical personnel who are still capable to give out the best towards national development.
The Ministry has finalized plans with Government of China to transform the Jui Chinese aid Hospital to a post graduate teaching Hospital to provide specialized training for our Doctors and other practitioners.
With strong advocacy and negotiation skills under the current leadership , government has increased budgetary allocation to 10% with additional funds sourced from the recurrent account provide bio-hazard , uncalled and location allowances to all health workers irrespective of you tittle or nomenclature .
Plans are firmed up by the Ministry to devolve laboratory and clinical services in all primary and secondary referral facilities across the country.
Already an intensive training programme had been roll-out for ICT and laboratory Technicians to operate the newly installed X-Ray devices in our health facilities.
State of the earth digital laboratory test device for TB has recently been unveiled at Lakka Hospital by the Minister of Health and are replicated at main referral facilities in high burden districts with the installation of Gene- Xpert machines.
Government has taken over Panguma and Nixon Hospitals while Youyi Building Clinic has now been refurbished to serve hundreds of Civil and Public Servants housed in that Building.
The ultra- modern Health facility in Hanga outskirt of Kenema will soon be commissioned by Government to address key health issues in that Region.
In less than one year a Bio- Safety and Disease Prevention Control laboratories have been established in Freetown. This was followed by the signing of memorandum between Sierra Leone Government and friendly countries for the construction of Cancer Diagnostic Center and Tropical Disease Prevention Control and Research Center.
Again, bidding and procurement process have been complete to secure 10 brand new dialysis machines to replace the worn-out ones at the Connaught Hospital.
The national ambulance service and the national medical supply Agency had been established to enhance quality service. Under lifesaving initiative, the Ministry has resolved to secure sea ambulances service river-rime communities in Bonthe, Kambia and other difficult Terrance.
The Directorate of Environmental Health in collaboration with development partners have concluded the review of public health ordinance of 1960. The outcome of this review is an effective framework for proper solid waste management.
At ministry level incinerators will be constructed at the various health facilities to deposit health infectious wastes. This will be followed by the establishment of sanitary court to bring to book anyone who fails to maintain accepted hygiene standard.
The Directorate of Non Communicable Disease in busy working on the formulation of the mental health and tobacco control legislation so as to scale up mental health treatment and to eradicate tobacco related diseases in the country.
Community Health Service policy is also underway to legitimize the operations of Community Health Officers.
Plans are finalized to incorporate traditional healers into the main stream through the setting up of focal point desk in the Ministry so that their practices could be refined and modernized.
However, National Physio Therapy Unit has much to be deserved as facilities are in shambles; squatters have already encroached on the land in Murray town.