As Sierra Leone joined other Countries, the world over, in commemorating World Health Day, the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Professor Alpha Tejan Wurie said Sierra Leone would rise again in the health sector.
The theme for this year’s celebrations is: “Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere and Health for all.” Professor Wurie was speaking at the Public Health National Operations Centre at Cockrill in Freetown. He said among other things that Sierra Leone’s health sector with a strong primary health Care system is now capable to deliver better health outcomes, cost efficient and is capable of improving on its quality and care of people.
The health minister said he believes in team work, and that he is leaving no one behind trying to discern the lessons learnt during the Ebola outbreak in rebuilding the country’s healthcare systems. He said he is aware of the healthcare systems research in fragile and conflict affected states, and as the country`s worst health indicators appear to throwback some spanners, he said his ministry has been able to collect sensitive data and are now using that to guide in the process of nationwide distribution of Free Health Care life-saving drugs as well as improving on the infrastructure and human resource development which are key to rebuilding a resilient healthcare system for Sierra Leone.
“Strong and resilient healthcare systems are critical to the population’s health interventions”, Professor Wurie noted, adding that, building a strong healthcare system in a fragile state is the ministry’s current challenge but said it would soon be a thing of the past.
However, the extension of healthcare facilities to all manner of persons is a national healthcare systems objective set out by the ministry of health and sanitation to reach many.
Professor Wurie said the strategic approach by His Excellency the President, Brig. Rtd. Julius Maada Bio to set aside the World Health Day to develop a roadmap to deliver quality healthcare services and for Sierra Leone to roll-out those policies with a view to ensuring that the Health Ministry serves every district, chiefdom and township in the country, is commendable.
Making sure that the ministry is able to assist people to recover and rehabilitate a better healthcare system, President Bio, according to the Minister of Health, supported the Ministry with an increased allocation of 10.6 percent from 7.5 percent of its annual budget, all geared towards improving the health sector in the country.
Professor Wurie also disclosed plans to put out tender with support from partners to buy Cost Recovery drugs that would help members of the public to access quality drugs at a minimal cost.
He said salaries of healthcare workers have also been increased and three allowances have been included which are: on call, location and Bio-hazard allowances.
Professor Wurie disclosed that the visit of President Julius Maada Bio to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the return visit by top government officials from the UAE to Sierra Leone has attracted a request for the purchase of life-saving drugs for three main referral hospitals: Connaught, Princess Christian Maternity (PCMH) and the Ola During Children’s Hospitals to be made available in-country in three months’ time.
Clinical leadership in primary healthcare settings can be distinguished from institutional settings, the minister noted; adding that in achieving the desired goals of the ministry, the Directors, Programme Managers, District Medical Officers and District Health Sisters have resolved to move on with the New Direction Agenda to make Sierra Leone’s healthcare system a centre of Excellence.