BY Ibrahim Kabba Turay
In a bid to transform the health sector in Sierra Leone, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, in collaboration with its partners, has for the first time in Sierra Leone launched the first National Health Summit and Recognition Awards 2022, with the theme “Transforming Healthcare Delivery Towards Universal Health Coverage”.
While launching the summit, the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Austin Hinga Demby, disclosed that the 7th, 8th, and 9th April, 2022, have been scheduled as the dates for the summit and recognition awards at the Bintumani Conference Centre, Freetown.
He said the Ministry’s current mission is to transform the health sector from an under-resourced, ill-equipped, and inadequate healthcare delivery system into an adequately resourced and functioning national delivery system that is affordable and accessible to all, especially the most vulnerable segment of the population.
He said to achieve their objective, all key stakeholders in the socio-economic development space in Sierra Leone and all decision-making actors in the health sector must urgently and collaboratively develop a workable formula to improve service delivery in order to ameliorate the high morbidity and mortality rates, whilst improving accountability and efficiency, increase sustain coverage and uptake of health services, especially during crises.
He further stated that the summit will attract notable international personalities in the health sector who would contribute to the discussions and outcomes.
Dr. Demby said the ministry and its partners have therefore identified a Health Summit as a way to do a deep dive into the issues that impede progress and how to accelerate the achievement of the health-focused SDGs targets and better improve service delivery and health outcomes in Sierra Leone.
He added that, the main objective of the health summit is to provide space and opportunity that will facilitate discussions among the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and its stakeholders, including Health Development Partners, MDAs, NGOs, and beneficiaries to deliberate on key achievements, challenges, opportunities and recommendations to accelerate progress towards the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) 2030 agenda .
“In conclusion, the expectations from the summit are expected to have a clear understanding and framework on how we work, going in the direction of accelerating progress towards the SDGs. We expect to see better coordination, clarity of priorities, and a better understanding of the life-stage service delivery model,” he said.
In attendance during the launch of the first ever Health Summit in Sierra Leone, were the World Health Organization Country Representative, CARE Country Representative, UNICEF Representative, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), represented by Health for All Coalition, Representative, and other partners.