December 17, 2018
By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Minister of Health and Sanitation, Associate Professor Dr Alpha Tejan Wurie, has assured new health professionals that come January 2019 they would be given pin codes to be part of the health system in the country.
Dr Wurie made the statement last Saturday, 15th December, during a swearing-in-ceremony of nurses, doctors and pharmacists into the medical profession at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS) campus, Kossoh Town, outside Freetown.
“Let me tell you here that, the news from His Excellency Brig. Julius Maada Bio is that each and every one of you to immediately start the procedure to get pin code and by January you should be fully employed into the system,” he told the new health professionals.
The health minister said that despite limited resources government has invested a lot in COMAHS and the students, adding that in 2019 about 3,000 health professionals would be enrolled into the system.
He expressed happiness to be at COMAHS again to witness the swearing-in-ceremony of health professionals, adding that he was at Kossoh Town when the first cohort of graduates from the college graduated.
“May I say here, the teaching hospital now has got accreditation from the West African College of Physicians and Surgeons for the following: surgery, medicine, and pediatrics,’’ he disclosed.
Dr Wurie continued that the president’s priority was human capital development and that education and health are paramount in ensuring that the country succeeds.
Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor of University of Sierra Leone at COMAHS, Associate Professor Dr. Mohamed Samai, said the swear-in-ceremony was an occasion organised for newly qualified health professionals in the country after going through rigorous academic training and mentorship from the university. He added that the grandaunts should own up to their academic and professional careers.
Dr Samai noted that despite the challenges COMAHS was going through ,there has been an increase in the number of students enrolled into the college, adding that for the year 2017/2018 academic year there are about 1,650 students of which 60% were female and 40% male.
The COMAHS boss said that over the years there had been demand increase in the number of applicants who express interest to study at COMAHS, stating that the college turns away some students as a result of lack of space.
He said the college had reviewed its curriculum and improved classrooms with board slates and makers, overhead projectors, air conditions, among other facilities.
Professor Samai further said that the college has been involved in lots of research for many years, including the recent EboVaccine research, which is now making a mark in Africa.
‘’COMAHS has benefitted from partnerships and linking within the country and the sub-region, with King’s College, such as curriculum, ICT, grant application and exchange Programmes,” Prof. Samai revealed. He went on to say that Sight Savers has been also helpful to the college, providing scholarship to students studying ophthalmology.
The varsity don said they were swearing-in 26 newly graduated doctors, 19 pharmacists, 15 Bachelor of Science in nursing, 38 pharmacy technicians, 15 medical laboratory technicians, 76 Diploma in nursing and 85 certificate in nursing, among those to be enlisted into the medical professional.
He, however, urged support from the government and alumni of COMAHS to invest in the college for it to continue contributing to the development of healthcare system in the country.
Vice Chancellor and Principal USL, Professor Foday Sahr said that, as medical professionals, the graduants should take a lot of responsibility as they will be accountable for their actions, adding that as they go out they shouldn’t feel they know it all and therefore urged them to consult their colleagues whenever the need arises .
Prof. Sahr reminded them that they owe a responsibility to their parents and a moral responsibility to the government and the people of Sierra Leone, adding that they shouldn’t put money first.
He concluded by advising them to desist from anything that would jeopardise their profession.
Minister of Higher and Technical Education, Professor Aiah Gbakima, on behalf of the government, congratulated the new health professionals. He said they should to serve the government for three years for them to be awarded scholarship through the Ministry of Higher and Technical Education.
He said there are opportunities for health professionals, thus imploring them to be patient, responsible in their work and not be distracted with their phones when doing their work.
The Minister of Higher Education said the president puts premium on education, hence the free and quality education scheme, adding that they are developing a student loan scheme system which would help students through their course.