By: Jonathan Abass Kamara
Deputy Health and Sanitation Minister ll, Zuliatu Cooper has reiterated government’s commitment to provide high quality Pharmaceutical Services in Sierra Leone.
Deputy Health and Sanitation Minister II, Madam Zuliatu Cooper
Addressing Pharmacists, health development partners and other officials of the Health Ministry at a meeting jointly organized by the Directorate of Drugs and Medical Supplies, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, USAID, System for Improved Access to Pharmaceutical Services (SIAP), and Continuous Results Monitoring and Support (CRMS) System at the Catco International Hotel conference hall in Freetown, to review their Report on progress made, lessons learned, and chat the way forward, Madam Cooper reaffirmed government’s position in ensuring that Sierra Leoneans have ready and affordable access to medicines and other medical supplies in all public health facilities and other places of public health concern.
She dilated on the political will and commitment of the government to streamline and transform the current challenged health system infrastructure and services within the framework of the President’s Post Ebola Recovery 10-24 month Priorities Plan, the 2016-2017 Annual Operational Plan, and the 2015-2020 National Health Sector Recovery Plan.
The Deputy Minister opined that to ensure the health sector meets the need of the people it is imperative that the collaborative efforts are based on the guiding principles of partnership in meeting the goals on principles and experiences of the continuous results monitoring and support system in Pharmaceutical System Strengthening, review of the report and lessons learned from the two districts Bombali and Bo, and to chat the way forward with the ultimate aim of integrating the Free Health Care Initiative, the Basic Package of Essential Health Services and the country’s Compact towards the government overall Agenda for Prosperity.
She said the Health Ministry with the 10-24 months recovery plan have specified strengthening the supply chain as one key priorities among its six pillars, targeting the reduction of maternal and child mortality through life saving intervention of 600 women, and 5,000 children by 2018.
The Deputy Minister noted the challenges faced by the Pharmaceutical Management on accountability as a result of unreliable data and reports, but that she was pleased to learn that the Bo and Bombali review meetings have identified encouraging opportunities and wished the participants successful deliberations.
Making his statement, the Director of Drugs and Medical Supplies, Mr. Bassie Turay lauded the Pharmaceutical Sector for the support though first in the calendar of the Health Ministry.
The System for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS), he said started in 2016 and within a short period has visited 90 percent of services in the districts to map out a new direction of governance, as medicines are issues of importance and critical to the health of the nation .
He told his audience that they are in the process of reviewing all policies that are critical to governance tools, adding that most of the policy documents have been reviewed including Drugs and Medicines Tools and Treatment Guidelines, as well as plans for SIAPS to align its programme within the 10-24 months Recovery Plan.
Mr. Bassie expressed concern over the perennial problem of handling drugs, its rational use, accountability and transparency, and envisaged optimism on the way forward to achieve the desired goal.
The Country Project Director SIAPS, Murtada Mohamed Sesay said they provide services to over 100 countries, adding that quality of data has been a serious concern looking at the potential of essential quality drugs and expired drugs.
He noted that between 10 and 15 years the few Pharmacists number have increased to a satisfactory level and reiterated his organization’s commitment to bring better life for the people of Sierra Leone through the SIAPS project with support from USAID and the government.
Mr. Sesay underscored the importance of data for decision making, the supply chain management and governance at the centre of improved quality data system.
The USAID Advisor, Stacy Lamon said they work with 100 partners, and would make sure they provide the services needed for the people.
He maintained that quality drugs for distribution must reach the patient at the appropriate time and reiterated USAID continued support to the Ministry, the government and people of Sierra Leone.
Other highlights include presentations on Drug Supply situation in Sierra Leone, Bo and Bombali District CRMS findings and discussions on the way forward.
Photo: Credit Kadrie Koroma