MOHS/VSO Building Confidence in Communities, Promotes Infection Prevention and Control in Health Facilities

Masiaka, P/Loko, Sept. 16, 2015 (MOHS) – The Directorate of Reproductive and Child Health, Ministry of Health and Sanitation with support from Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) Sierra Leone has conducted series of demand creation activities for maternal newborn and child health in three Ebola affected districts in the country.

VSOCross section of pregnant women in the clinic

In recent weeks, there has been an upsurge in Ebola virus disease cases in the Western Area, Port Loko and Kambia, a scary moment to ensure that the disease is quickly contained in the affected districts is what the Health Ministry has embarked to enhance the utilization of public health facilities for Maternal and Newborn Child Health Services, sustained community engagement and Infection Prevention and Control in health facilities to reverse the surge.

Promoting the uptake of maternal and newborn child health services at service delivery points in the affected districts, the Directorate of Reproductive and Child Health in leading the intervention at Masiaka Port Loko and in the Western Rural area on Tuesday September 15, 2015 commended staff and the Masiaka and Waterloo communities for increased turn out by pregnant women and lactating mothers in the health facilities for Antenatal care, delivery and postnatal care services.

VSO1One of the beneficiaries receiving part of the IPC items

Making the donation of the Infection Prevention and Control materials to the various facilities visited, the Director of Reproductive and Child Health, Dr. Santigie Sesay described the huge accessibility of the health centres as a confidence building on the health system, and efforts by the Ministry, partners and community stakeholders in dispelling the myths and misconception on Ebola which calls for more action to drive demand creation for maternal and child health services in the targeted districts.

VSO2Director of Reproductive and Child Health Dr. Santigie Sesay sensitizing the audience

He encouraged the clients to continue to take the necessary precautionary measures, and admonished the staff to provide services within the ethics and code of practice and conduct of the nursing profession and to ensure the patient/staff safety protocols at service delivery points.

Dr Sesay re-emphasized the need for pregnant women and mothers to access the health facilities and called on them to be ambassadors to sensitize their various communities on the danger of home delivery with a view to complementing the efforts of the Ministry, partners and government in the reduction of maternal mortality in the country.

The In-Charge and Community Health Officer, Masiaka Community Health Centre, Hassan Kamara lauded the Ministry and the donor for the gifts, promising that they would continue to intensify sensitization, promote infection prevention and control measures with the protocol to protect both themselves and the patient.

VSO3In-Charge and Community Health Officer, Masiaka CHC, Hassan Kamara

He said the International Medical Corps (IMC) has been very supportive, and appealed for the provision of a stationed ambulance for prompt referral services.

At the Waterloo Community Centre, Dr. Sesay expressed appreciation over the encouraging attendance of women as well as their husbands for accessing the facility hoping that they would continue to be ambassadors of change in restoring confidence in the community. “The fight to combat Ebola, and making the lives of our women and newborn safe and healthy”, Dr. Sesay told his audience, is imperative.

The Chairman of the Waterloo Health Management Committee, Chief Bethembeng II noted that Ebola is still on the rampage and advised against complacency. He said Waterloo is five months with no Ebola case and reiterated their commitment and continued strides to compliment government’s efforts.

VSO4Chairman, Waterloo Health Management Committee, Chief Bethembeng II

Waterloo and its environs the Chief said, is a fast growing population that urgently requires a hospital and the expansion of the Health Centre, especially the Maternity unit where they experienced a huge influx of women coming to deliver. Chief Bethembeng also advocated for the provision of an ambulance service to ensure prompt referral system and handling of patients from the environs to Waterloo.

Similar gesture was made at the Devil Hole Borah Maternity Clinic in the Western Rural area.