Freetown, Feb. 20, 2015 (MOHS) – The visiting Rt. Hon. Baroness Hayman of the House of Lords London in the United Kingdom has expressed interest in the country’s post Ebola Recovery Phase on maternal and newborn health.
Accompanied by the Senior Technical Officer, Centre for Maternal Newborn, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Madam Betty Sam, the Rt. Honourable Hayman said she has a programme with the Sierra Leone Parliament and the Health Committee Women Caucus, OXFAM, Save the Children, Christian Aid among others for which part of her visit was to meet with them on matters relating to development programmes.
The Rt. Hon. Hayman enumerated her primary objective on the challenges surrounding Teenage Pregnancy, Gender Based Violence, Still Birth, and the tremendous support by government within the frame work of the Free Health Care, looking at the position of pregnant women during the Ebola outbreak.
She noted that the post Ebola recovery process would need support as the response, and advocated for long term donor support.
“The drive to zero Ebola infection needs continued sensitization and social mobilization”, Rt. Hon. Hayman said, and lauded the partnership between Liverpool School of Tropical Medicines and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.
Responding, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer 1 (One), Dr. Sarian Kamara informed her guest about the Ministry’s Post Ebola Plan on building a resilient health system for Sierra Leone, adding that maternal and newborn child health is part of the action plan.
Dr. Kamara said the Free Health Care Programme scaled down as a result of the Ebola outbreak when pregnant women and lactating mothers were not accessing the health facilities as a result of misconception, negative rumours and traditional cultural beliefs.
Teenage pregnancy, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer said is a flagship project that is also part of the Post Ebola programme which demands high community engagement and sensitization.
The Director of Reproductive and Child Health, Dr. Santigie Sesay explained that guidelines have been developed on community engagement and ownership on issues surrounding misconception, rumours, and negative traditional cultural beliefs to address the challenges affecting the smooth implementation of maternal and newborn child health activities in the country.
He underscored the importance of strengthening tertiary hospitals whilst scaling down Treatment Centres, Ebola Community Treatment Units, and the re-assessment of Basic Emergency Maternal Obstetrics Newborn Centres (BEMONC) and Comprehensive Emergency Maternal Obstetrics Newborn Centres (CEMONC) for their Post Ebola recovery readiness.