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‘Government is committed to providing high quality Pharmaceutical services’

…Says Deputy Health Minister

October 18, 2016 

Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation ll, Madam Zuliatu Cooper, has stated that government was committed to providing high quality pharmaceutical services in Sierra Leone.

She made the above statement last weekend while addressing pharmacists, health development partners and other officials of the ministry at a meeting jointly organised by the Directorate of Drugs and Medical Supplies, USAID, System for Improved Access to Pharmaceutical Services (SIAP), and Continuous Results Monitoring and Support (CRMS) System at the Catco International Hotel conference hall in Freetown.

The meeting, she said, was to review their report on progress made, lessons learnt, as well as to chart the way forward and state government’s position in ensuring that Sierra Leoneans have ready and affordable access to drugs and other medical supplies in all public health facilities and other places of public health concern.

She stressed the political will and commitment of the government to streamline and transform the current challenge of the health system infrastructure and services within the framework of the President’s Post Ebola Recovery Priority Plan, the 2016-2017 Annual Operational Plan, and the 2015-2020 National Health Sector Recovery Plan.

The deputy minister noted that to ensure that the health sector meets the needs of consumers, it was vital that collaborative efforts were based on the guiding principles of partnership in meeting the goals and experiences of continuous results monitoring and support in pharmaceutical system strengthening, review the report and lessons learnt from Bombali and Bo, chart the way forward with the ultimate aim of integrating the free healthcare initiative, basic package of essential health services and the country’s compact towards the government overall Agenda for Prosperity.

She said the Health Ministry, during the 10-24 months recovery plan, had specified strength, targeting reduction in maternal and child mortality through life saving intervention of 600 women and 5,000 children by 2018.

The minister emphasised challenges faced by pharmaceutical management with regards poor accountability as a result of unreliable data and reports, but was pleased to learn that the Bo and Bombali review meetings identified encouraging opportunities, and wished the participants successful deliberations.

Director of Drugs and Medical Supplies, Bassie Turay, said the System for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) started in 2016 and that within a short period they had visited 90 percent of services in the districts to map out a new direction of governance.

He told the audience that they were in the process of reviewing all policies that were critical to governance tools, as most of the policy documents have been reviewed, including Drugs and Medicines Tools and Treatment Guidelines, as well as plans for SIAPS to align its programme within the 10-24 months Recovery Plan.

Country Project Director SIAPS, Murtada Mohamed Sesay, said they provided services to over 100 countries and that the quality of a data system has been a serious concern, looking at the potential of essential quality drugs and expired drugs.

He disclosed that within 10 to 15 years, the number of pharmacists in the country has increased to a satisfactory level, and assured his organisation’s commitment to bringing better life for the people of Sierra Leone through the SIAPS project, with support from USAID and the government.

Sesay stressed the importance of data for decision making, the supply chain management and governance at the centre of improved quality data system.

USAID Advisor Stacy Lamon said they work with 100 partners and that they would make sure they provide services needed for the people, adding that quality drugs for distribution must reach patients at the appropriate time as she expressed USAID’s continued support to the ministry, the government and people of Sierra Leone.

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