October 8, 2020
By Mohamed Massaquoi
Minister of Health and Sanitation, Professor Alpha Tejan Wurie has engaged staff of the ministry on internal management and functional review in line with the strategic action plan of the ministry.
The three-day retreat was held at the Galliness Hotel in Bo, Southern Sierra Leone.
The main thrust of the review process was to stimulate dialogue and share information on the proposed institutional reform process amongst staff of the ministry and to garner support and cooperation for the internal management review.
Participants were updated on the progress made on the implementation of the Kobeibu Declaration and processes undertaken to address some of the institutional and functional gaps within ministry, thus validating the the draft action plan for the internal management and functional review of MoHS and build consensus amongst executive management staff, directors and programme managers on strategic directive of the ministry and strategies, to guide the next steps towards implementation.
Professor Wurie said for the past two years he has been learning from various presentations by staff of the ministry regarding the transformation process, adding that exactly two years ago, they were in Bo to discuss the way forward for the ministry.
The Minister said certain functions were hived out and were to be exclusively handled by the Chief Medical Officer.
“We hived out the nursing service, directorate of training and research, reproductive services. The ministry has been working on the public health ordinance bill, it is coming to the end now, we should be taking that to cabinet and then parliament. If we do it means we are going to create a national public health agency and what will constitute this agency is what you should consider now,” he said, adding that the universal health coverage should be anchored by the primary healthcare within which participants should consolidate reproductive and maternal health services.
“For us to be able to do universal health, we must make it affordable, the health insurance scheme should be handled by the ministry but at the moment it is within the ministry of labour which was the more reason a consultant has been recruited to do more work on the scheme,” he concluded.
The World Health Organization, Country Representative, Dr. Steven Velabo Shongwe said WHO expects that the internal functional review will be able to put the core functions within the ministry under the lens to inform and identify problems and how to design the appropriate mechanisms to address them.
“We are hopeful that this exercise will provide the ground for the ministry to identify core management and organizational barriers, to performance, reduce bureaucracy and improve efficiency, re-orient governance systems among other things,” he said, adding that the most important of the exercise was to critically look at quality management system which gives organization a systematic approach for meeting customer objectives.
“Countries in the Africa region and indeed in other developing countries including Sierra Leone arguably face the greatest health and development challenges today. Not only do we have high burdens of communicable disease of non-communicable diseases, but we are also undergoing epidemiological transmission with increased burden of non-communicable disease as well,” he stated.