Freetown, Sept. 3, 2015 (MOHS) – As President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma launches Health Recovery Agenda, big boosts for Government hospitals countrywide.
A key component of restoring basic health services is the referral system. The Ministry of Health and Sanitation has announced the distribution of Thirty Five (35) brand new Ambulances to all government hospitals nationwide amidst excitement and relief from District Medical Officers, Medical Superintendents, and Matrons.
The health sector in Sierra Leone was doing reasonably well prior to the outbreak of the dreadful Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) that has claimed thousands of lives. According to the 2013 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) when compared to that of 2008; women in Sierra Leone were found to have an average of 4.8 children. This new figure represents a drop of 0.3 when compared to the figure of 5.1 in 2008. Modern contraception among married women doubled from 7% in 2008 to 16% in 2013. This means more and more women are able to plan their families to suit their current circumstances.
Six in ten births are attended by a skilled birth provider, vaccination coverage increased form 40% to sixty-eight per cent. Neonatal Mortality Rate dropped from 46/1000 live births to 29/1000 live births. Infant Mortality Rate dropped from 127/1000 live births to 92/1000 live births, and Under-five mortality rate dropped from 194/1000 live births to 156/1000 live births.
It was in the height of these gains that the EVD struck and threatens to reverse all the impressive in-roads. The Ministry of Health and Sanitation has developed a five-year Health Sector Recovery Plan (HSRP). At the moment His Excellency the President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma is focusing his attention in two key priority areas of the Health Sector Recovery Plan. These are ensuring that all health facilities are safe for both patients and health workers and restoring essential health services to the pre-EVD level. These two objectives have been identified as the most crucial ones for now and have been prioritised in the early recovery period which started in July and ends in March.
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation continues to make significant in-roads on both fronts. There has been a significant reduction in the rate of hospital acquired EVD infection among health workers. A pointer to the fact that health workers are becoming ever increasingly conscious of infection prevention and safety procedures in the work place and are taking all necessary steps to protect themselves and the patients. Moreover there is a steady increase in the number of health facilities opening for business and in the number of people attending health facilities now compared to the attendance at the height of the Ebola Virus Disease. These observations are strong indicators that the President is achieving his short term objectives of promoting safe working environments and restoring basic health services.