February 3, 2017 By Jonathan Abass Kamara
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation has officially launched its 2016-2020 National Community Health Workers Policy on Thursday February 2, 2017 at the Shangri La Hotel in Freetown.
The 2012 reviewed and updated Policy for National Community Health Workers programme is part of a resilient national health system aimed at providing efficient, basic and high quality services that are accessible to everybody especially people living in hard-to-reach areas.
Making his address, Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Brima Kargbo, said by making community ownership a pillar of their Health Sector Recovery Plan and the Basic Package of Essential Health Services, and with the launch of the revised Policy, Community Health Workers would become more prominent feature of the health landscape, increasing both in numbers and in the quality of the services they offer.
He urged members of the Local Councils, the District Health Management Teams, members of the various communities and leaders to get them engaged, as well as monitor and support the Community Health Workers Hub at national level.
The hub, he said has completed the first part of its job, and that with the revised policy, and the mobilization of significant resources, it is imperative on all stakeholders to help ensure proper implementation in the districts, that communities are fully aware, and citizens benefit from the programme.
The Chief Medical Officer reminded his audience that with the integrated community health workers approach, they were able to combat the Ebola and reiterated government’s commitment to ensuring the sustainability of the programme.
Launching the Policy, Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation II, Madam Zuliatu Cooper said the revised National Community Health Workers programme has been high in the Agenda of the President’s Recovery priorities, and timely with the Ministry’s renewed focus on saving the lives of 600 women and 5, 000 children by 2018.
By focusing on rural areas, the revised National Community Health Worker programme, the Deputy Minister said recognizes the challenge, and designed to provide intensive support to ensuring equitable national coverage.
The Ministry, she reiterated, is committed to ensuring community ownership and a health system that is responsive to community needs.
Madam Cooper noted that the programme includes more robust supervision and inclusion of incentives, while the Community Health Workers hub Directorate of Primary Health Care, simultaneously works on the creation of a robust and long-term sustainability plan that includes innovative approaches to fund raising and an increased government of Sierra Leone contributions.
She encouraged all to work together to achieve the Ministry’s aims of reducing maternal and child mortality, and ultimately strengthening the country’s health system.
Madam Cooper thanked all those who in diverse ways involved for the successful completion of the policy document and encourage Paramount Chiefs to take the leadership role and responsibility to ensuring the viable implementation of the Community Health Workers programme describing the occasion as a big success.
Other key highlights of the ceremony includes statements from the World Bank Group Country Manager, Mr. Parminder Brar, the USAID Sierra Leone Health Advisor, Mr. Saad El Din Hussein Hassan, the UNICEF Representative Mr. Geoff Wiffin, and the Director of Primary Health Care, Dr. Joseph Kandeh who presented an overview of the Policy.