July 16, 2015 By Victoria Saffa
A new World Bank report published last week in the Lancet Global Health has shown that maternal deaths could rise sharply as the number of medical workers who have lost their lives in the Ebola outbreak reached approximately 12% since last year.
According to the report, Sierra Leone has lost about 5% professional medical doctors while 7% of nurses who were helping the nation to reduce the maternal mortality rate have also lost their lives during the Ebola outbreak.
Speaking to Concord Times at his Youyi building office, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo, said there were plans to bring in seventy foreign medical staff to assist in developing the weakened healthcare system to help save the lives of pregnant and lactating mothers, as well as under-five children, adding that the move was part of efforts to alleviate and strengthen the country’s health system.
He however noted that there were not enough institutions in the country to produce medical experts within the shortest time, thus the reason they have had to rely on foreign experts. He said among the priorities after the Ebola outbreak would be to expand and strengthen the health workforce, as well as improve disease surveillance and epidemic response and preparedness.
Dr. Brima revealed that the government has plans to upgrade some of the main hospitals around the country over the next two years and to use the facilities to train more health professionals.
The Chief Medical Officer further disclosed plans to increase the number of community health workers who could provide primary healthcare such as first aid, prenatal care and treating malaria, as well as be on the lookout for symptoms of serious diseases like Ebola.