By Ibrahim Kabba Turay
The Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHs) and the World Health Organization (WHO), has officially launched the universal health preparedness review.
The official launch was done on Wednesday, May 3rd, at the Bintumani International Conference Centre, Aberdeen in Freetown.
In his keynote address, the Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, said Sierra Leone has experienced a lot when it comes to pandemics over the past ten years.
He said the health system has gone through Ebola in 2014 to 2015 and the recent which is the Covid-19 that shows the nakedness of the health system, adding that that has put the country to be prepared and put together a robust structure for future outbreak.
V.P Jalloh said when they took power in 2018, the then government was allocating only 6 percent budget to the health sector, noting that because of the seriousness of their government they were able to increase it to 11.7 percent.
He further said that despite the challenges they encountered when they took office in 2018, they were able to address 75 percent of them, adding that the universal health preparedness review is a holistic initiative that provides a comprehensive view of emergency preparedness.
He said whatever they were doing at the launch will determine the kind of health system they want to develop for their children, women, and the people of Sierra Leone, adding that they will ensure they support the review process.
Executive Director, World Health Organization (WHO), thanked the Government of Sierra Leone for giving them the space to work, and also thanked Sierra Leonean for protecting the reset of the world during the Ebola outbreak.
He further states that WHO will continue to support Sierra Leone in the universal health preparedness review, adding that the approach towards achieving universal health coverage requires strong collaboration, accountability, and concerted actions between nationals, policymakers, non-governmental organizations, and global initiatives for providing the change that is needed to develop the country’s health system.
He said they have put forward proposals for countries across the world to strengthen their health architecture for health emergency preparedness.
United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, Babatunde Ahonsi, said Sierra Leone like all other countries, needs to strengthen health emergency preparedness and response at all levels and to build resilience through stronger primary health care.
“As the foundation of both health security and universal health coverage, UHPR is a welcome step that will go some way in positioning Sierra Leone to be the first country within ECOWAS to be prepared,” he said