Sierra Leone Observes WAHO Day Health Services Workers Union calls for Health Workers Safety

Freetown, July 10, 2015 (MOHS) – Sierra Leone on Thursday July 9, 2015 joined other ECOWAS member countries to commemorate West Africa Health Organization Day on the theme: “The contribution of mobile phone in the management of epidemic at the community level”.

WAHOL-R: SLHSWU Secretary General, Ansu Kallon, WAHO Liaison Officer, Yayah Conteh, National Infection, Prevention and Control Coordinator, Nana Sesay-Kamara and SLHSWU Education Officer, Christiana Conteh

Speaking during a courtesy call on the West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) Liaison Officer, Mr. Yayah Conteh in his Youyi Building office in Freetown, the Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Health Services Workers Union (SLHSWU), Ansu Rashid Kallon outlined some of the challenges in health activities in the West Africa sub-region in the area of affective health care delivery services.

WAHO1SLHSWU Secretary General, Ansu Rashid Kallon

He recalled the 2008 West Africa Health Sector Workers Union Network Conference held in Abuja, Nigeria relating to pandemic preparedness and health workers safety, stressing the need for their presence to be felt in major WAHO human resource activities within the health sector.

Mr. Kallon noted the language barrier for pan Africanism and underscored the importance for both Anglo phone and Franco- phone countries to articulate the issues of health for the less privilege and vulnerable people.

He reiterated his organization’s commitment in seeking the welfare and wellbeing of its workers by ensuring they work in a healthy environment while executing their duties.

Making his remarks, the WAHO Liaison Officer, Yayah Conteh said the West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) was founded in 1975 about 40 years ago to promote quality health care delivery service within the region.

WAHO2WAHO Liaison Officer, Yayah Conteh

He said the Ebola outbreak poses numerous challenges, describing the situation as an alert for the three countries: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. This year’s theme he said focuses on community participation to making communication an effective tool in the fight to contain the Ebola virus disease.

WAHO, Mr. Conteh said has a strategic structured plan to support disease surveillance, health information management system, monitoring, human resource capacity building and additional plans to prevent future outbreaks in the region.

He lauded SLHSWU for their partnership in complementing the efforts of the Ministry and the government in building a resilient health system and assured them of their participation in future WAHO meetings.

In a related engagement, the SLHSWU team also paid courtesy call on the Chief Nursing Officer at her Youyi Building office to dialogue on the concern for the safety of their workers since nursing has the largest workforce in the health sector.

The Chief Nursing Officer, Matron Hossinatu Kanu said the role of nurses is seen in every clinical, medical and surgical activity, and being the largest work force in the health sector, the lessons leant from the Ebola outbreak would be articulated into positive action to ensure the safety of the health worker and the patient.

WAHO3Chief Nursing Officer, Matron Hossinatu Kanu

She reiterated that patient and health worker safety is a key priority in the Ministry’s Post Ebola Recovery Plan including the water and sanitation component and infection, prevention and control.

WAHO4R-L: Chief Nursing Officer, Matron Hossinatu Kanu, SLHSWU Secretary General, Ansu Kallon and SLHSWU Education Officer, Christiana Conteh

Matron Kanu paid tribute and condolences to the fallen health workers and bereaved families and disclosed plans to organize a National Memorial Service in recognition of their invaluable patriotic services to the nation.

WAHO5SLHSWU Education Officer, Christiana Conteh

The Education Officer, Sierra Leone Health Services Workers Union, Mrs. Christiana Conteh reiterated their organization’s commitment to collaborate with the Ministry and its partners in helping to model the human resource capacity towards building a resilient health system within the health sector.

JAK/KK/MOHS/SLENA