Freetown, Jan. 13, 2015 (MOHS) – In pursuing its Vision for 2015-2016 and 2016-2020 on building resilient system for health in Sierra Leone, Health and Sanitation Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah has started his first in a series of assessment tour of government health facilities across the country.
Making his first visit to the Ola During Children’s and the Princess Christian Maternity hospitals in Freetown on Tuesday January 13, 2015, the Minister in a meeting with senior staff of the two hospitals reiterated the need to transform all Tertiary Regional hospitals into a University Teaching hospital.
The high table (R-L) Chief Nursing Officer, Matron Hossinatu Kanu, Permanent Secretary, Mr. David Wayland Sinford Banya, Health Minister, Dr. A.B. Fofanah, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo and Newly appointed Director of Hospitals and Laboratory Services, Dr. Victor Matt Lebby
His mission was to assess the level of administrative and professional management of the hospitals, the challenges and constraints and to give the necessary support that would regain the country’s past glory in health care development.
“It takes time in meeting the challenges ahead, but optimistic that with divine professional sacrifice, patriotism, commitment, accountability and dedication to service within the frame work of team spirit, the desired goal will be achieved”, Dr. Fofanah maintained.
The Minister appealed to his audience to put together their specific roles and responsibility with honesty, sincerity of purpose and professionalism, noting that to achieve the ultimate goal every sector; porters, cleaners and the entire workforce are important in the fight to make the necessary impact in building a resilient health system for Sierra Leone.
He said he alone cannot win the battle in making the Ministry a more viable institution, and assured them that being a constituent of the same discipline; he would together with their cooperation provide a conducive working environment for posterity.
The Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo told his staff that the Minister’s vision is not a witch hunt but a mission for the transformation of a once battered health system placed in a deplorable state due to the 11 years civil war and other challenges.
“In the quest for transformation, our thinking for positive actions, punctuality, ethics and code of practice, and attitude to work must be transparently demonstrated with accountability in our stewardship as health professionals”, the Chief Medical Officer opined.
He expressed satisfaction over the utilization and accessibility of the hospitals by lactating mothers and pregnant women noting that it demonstrates the fact that the free health care beneficiaries have beginning to restore confidence in the country’s health care system even at the height of the Ebola threat.
The Medical Superintendent Princess Christian Maternity Hospital, Dr. Alimamy Koroma reported significant improvement in scaling down maternal mortality rate, improvement in the free health care programme, positive implementation of the World Bank Performance Based Financing (PBF) support in purchasing drugs when out of stock, among other success stories.
Challenges include inadequate professional administrative staff, accessing of funds, need for additional supply of elbow gloves.
The Medical Superintendent, Ola During Children’s Hospital, Dr. David Baion noted the observations of the Minister and team in respect of the hospital management, sanitation and hygiene within the hospital setting, and assured the delegation that he would endeavor to putting in place the gaps and lapses identified to a satisfactory level.
He paid tribute to their departed colleagues died Ebola, and congratulated the newly appointed Director of Hospitals and Laboratory Services, Dr. Victor Matt Lebbey on his new assignment, promising that they would give him the necessary support to achieve his goal.
The Chief Nursing Officer, Matron Hossinatu Kanu told the meeting that as medical practitioners they all have a stake in the administration and management of the hospitals in ensuring efficiency, commitment and dedication to service.
She said though the Minister’s visit is not a witch hunt, but that this time round it is not business as usual, stressing the need for accountability, probity and transparency.
Matron Kanu warned against illegal strike action, pointing out those defaulters would have to face stringent disciplinary action.
Having the largest workforce in the hospitals and peripheral health units, the Chief Nursing Officer among other key issues dilated on concerns surrounding human resource development, waste management and staff welfare.
The newly appointed Director of Hospitals and Laboratory Services, Dr. Victor Matt Lebbey shared his 15 years’ experience working in the precinct of the PCM and Ola During Children’s hospitals, and advocated for partnership and continuum of care with team spirit to strengthen output.
His Directorate, he maintained, is not going to be a one man’s institution. In her remarks, the Director of Human Resource for Health, Haja Mariatu Koroma reiterated the Minister’s vision to providing a conducive working environment for all deserving staff, be it porters or cleaners.
Mechanisms, Haja Koroma said, have been put in place to ensure successful management of hospitals in post Ebola era, and encouraged staff of the hospitals to be committed and loyal in the discharge of their duties.
In a similar vein, the newly appointed Permanent Secretary and Chairman for the occasion, Mr. David Wayland Sinford Banya described the Minister as an action-oriented person, and not an arm-Chair or Desk Minister.
He told his audience that the Minister is keen in providing the best services to staff in all health facilities and programmes across the country. The Permanent Secretary reiterated that the minister has embarked on a mission to get first-hand knowledge about the management and administration of all government health facilities across the country.
A conducted tour of the various wards and units in the hospitals formed high point of the on-the-spot assessment mission.