Director warns against irrational use of drugs


March 6, 2017 By Jonathan Abass Kamara

The Director of Hospitals and Laboratory Services, Dr. Victor Matt Lebby, has lamented the irrational use of drugs in Sierra Leone, noting that “Sierra Leone is the only country where you buy medicines without prescription.”

Addressing the Launching and Support for the establishment of Hospital Drug and Therapeutic Committees at a ceremony held at the Hill Valley in Freetown, Dr. Lebby said Sierra Leone suffered a lot of challenges during the civil war, which disrupted Pharmaceutical and other medical services, pointing out that in the post war era Pharmaceutical services to the nation must rationally be used to save lives.

He noted that the Ebola outbreak was another challenge which required the Directorate of Drugs and Medical Services, and the Pharmaceutical society to ensure that the supply chain was  maintained for a resilient health system.

Dr. Lebby underscored the need for proper regulations, policies and guidelines in executing Pharmaceutical practices in the country’s health facilities, hoping that the established Committees in the four Pilot major Teaching Hospitals: the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital, Ola During Children’s Hospital, Connaught and the Regional Hospital North, in Makeni would help improve standards in the country.

He observed that financing was key noting that the country cannot be donor-driven for over and commended the Directorate of Drugs and Medical Supplies for ensuring human resource capacity building and Health Information Management System is established in the entire district across the country.

The Director, Management Services for Health (Msh), Mr. Mutarda Sesay said the thrust of Msh activity was improving their activities from the district to the peripheral health units down to village level, identify human resource, monitor and mentor.

He said District Health Management Teams have been motivated with monitoring and supervision countrywide to explore how readily peripheral health units are at the periphery on drugs management.

Commenting on data processing, Mr. Sesay opined that Quality Data should be used for decision making in a very evidence base direction for utilization.

He noted that the Directorate of Drugs and Medical Supplies is equipped with Pharmacists in every district across the country, a situation he described as commendable but stressed the need to ensure recognition and motivation on the circumstances they operate.

The Director of Drugs and Medical Supplies, Mr. Bassie Turay described the establishment of the Committees in hospitals as first in the history of Pharmaceutical activities in Sierra Leone targeting medical services in the country.

He said the Genesis of the launching event started as early as 2012 when his Directorate was approached to develop a concept addressing multiple problems on the lives of the people with the credibility of Pharmaceutical products administration and management on the formulary system.

“The rational use of Pharmaceutical is a global concern”, opined Mr. Bassie Turay.

The Director USAID System Improve Access to Pharmaceutical and Services (SIAPS), Mr. Francis Aboagye-Nyame said part of their role is to improve the ability of quality medicines to ensure that the structures are put in place to handle Pharmaceuticals credibly.

Commenting on the human resource capacity building, Mr. Aboagye-Nyame  expressed their concern on two levels: individual and institutional, to ensuring that their staff are well utilized, building capacity for Pharmaceuticals and supply chain management services, strengthen financing strategy and mechanisms to access medicines at affordable cost.

Health Advisor USAID, Saad El-Din Hussain Hassan underscored the importance of planning as to how it helped with the Free Health Care drugs and supplies Plan on procurement and quantification for the smooth flow of consumption.

He said four pilot tertiary hospitals, three in the Western Area and one in the north, Makeni have been targeted as a pilot and may roll out to twenty more hospitals and stressed the need for monitoring noting that one of the big obstacles in 2015 at the District Medical Stores was the issue of expired drugs.

Handing over the supplies donated, Mr. El-Din Hussain Hassan described the event as another key milestone in the era of Pharmaceutical services in Sierra Leone.