Freetown, Aug. 19, 2015 (MOHS) – Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, Madina Rahman has described the Ebola outbreak as a devastating battle that over stretches our country’s fragile health systems and decimated our human resource for health capacity.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the Ministry’s four-days Mid-Year Performance Level 2015 Review towards building a resilient health care delivery system in the country held at the Shangri La Complex in Freetown, Madam Rahman lamented the loss of lives of doctors, nurses, specialists and other health workers, adding that the epidemic had direct and disproportional efforts on the health sector, eroded recent progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.
Moving towards the full implementation of activities on the Post Ebola Recovery Plan recently launched by President Koroma, Madam Rahman expressed the need for stock take of what has been done in order to establish baselines from the Ministry’s achievements at the end of six to nine months, pointing out that it was on the circumstance and against that backdrop that the meeting was organized. The meeting, she told her audience will review the performance of Directors, Programme and District Management Teams for the first half of 2015 with a view to establishing the status of implementation of Ebola response and early recovery activities, identify bottlenecks and implementation challenges as the Ministry seeks to get to zero Ebola infection and restore essential health services.
Commenting on the gains and success story of the Ministry, Madam Rahman said despite the challenges faced in hitting some of the MDG indicators around maternal and child health, significant progress has been made over the years following key strategies in response to our appalling health systems, notably the Free Health Care Initiative and complementing interventions. Both the basic package of essential health services and the free health care, the Deputy Minister said contributed to the substantial progress made towards a number of the MDG targets in the health sector including the reduction in child and maternal mortality. The improved coverage with a range of critical interventions such as Family Planning, skilled Birth Attendants and immunization, the Deputy Minister said equally contributed greatly to the progress made. Evidenced on the progress made she furthered, is based on the results of the two preceding Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS 2008-2013) with notable coverage gains in access to essential services.
She acknowledged the good work of all health workers, health development partners and all those who in diverse ways assisted in winning the menace, and for their determination to drive the recovery process forward.
“All we need as a country and people, to support the leadership the ministry at both national and districts level is to demonstrate the desired seriousness and transformational leadership to bring a lasting change in our health system and the health outcomes of the citizenry”, opined the Deputy Minister.
The Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo commended his staff for the steadfastness and commitment towards having a resilient health system noting the inadequate human resource capacity and the effort to restore the basic health services in the various health facilities in the country.
He said the destiny of the Ministry lies on the District Health Management Teams, describing them as the catalyst for the successful implementation of the recovery plan.
Dr. Kargbo reminded them that the lessons learnt must be executed professionally, and admonished them to protect themselves and the patient, and to treat all patients as suspects.
He reiterated the need to put into practice the Infection, Prevention and Control measures and to note their responsibility towards the more than 4,000 survivors that needed their assistance.
The Chief Medical Officer spoke on the Ministry’s Post Ebola Strategy, the health worker and patient safety and community engagement and ownership, surveillance and health information system and other pillars that would make the Ministry a more viable institution.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Mr. David Banya lauded the political leadership of the Ministry, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah for his determination, vision and commitment in striving for excellence.
He told his audience that the Ministry is poised to enter into 2016 with added determination to translate into reality the vision of government to provide prompt, effective and efficient health care delivery service to all Sierra Leoneans and others living in the country.
Mr. Banya dilated on other key issues which include the Ministry’s Budget Allocation for the remaining months of 2015, the Budget Call Circular for Fiscal Year 2016-2018, Man Power Planning and the Post Ebola priorities.
Other speakers include the WHO Representative, Dr. Anders Nordstrom and representative of the Director General Human Resource Management Office (HRMO) Mr. Osman Conteh.