By Kadrie Koroma
The Directorate of Policy Planning and Information (DPPI) has concluded Regional Consultative Meetings for the South, Eastern and Northern Regions for the development of the National Health Sector Strategic Plan (NHSSP) 2017-2021 on Wednesday July 5 and Thursday July 6, 2017 in Bo and Makeni respectively.
Cross section of participants
The meeting attracted District Medical Officers, Medical Superintendents, District Health Sisters, Matrons, District Pharmacists, Mayors, Chairmen, Chief Administrators, NGO representatives and CSO representatives.
In his keynote address and official opening of the meeting at the Sahara Hotel in Bo, the Director of Policy Planning and Information, Dr. Samuel Kargbo described the National Health Sector Strategic Plan as a very important document that they are going to celebrate on completion, adding that the celebration will encouraged them to do more.
Director DPPI, Dr. Samuel Kargbo
He reiterated that the reason for the meeting is because of the openness of the Ministry and the all-inclusiveness to see that everybody get involved in giving input for the development of the document. He added that they don’t work for the communities but rather work with the communities so that at the end of it all, whatever document they come up with will be one that would be owned and cherished.
The Director of DPPI told the gathering that in all the consultations they have been having, a concept has arisen were people said they want the plan to be robust, responsive, resilience, realistic, research, relevant and result-focus.
He noted that what happen recently was that the old strategic plan that started in 2010 expired in 2015 and towards the expiring of that plan they got the Ebola disaster in the country. He added that as a result they were not able to replace the plan but what they did was a review of the plan that is going to inform the new plan.
Dr. Kargbo informed his audience that the difference between the post-Ebola Strategic Plan and a National Strategic Plan is because the National Strategic Plan has more components than the Post-Ebola Recovery Plan that is looking at the entire health rather than the Post-Ebola Recovery Plan.
Giving an overview of the NHSSP 2017-2021, Dr. Kargbo said no aspect of the draft was set in stone, but are based on initial consultation stages, and all is subject to change and adjustment based on inputs from the Health Ministry and partners.
The Mayor of Bonthe Municipal Council, Layemin Joe Sandi said they are quite aware of the havoc the Ebola disease caused on the country and economy to stand still and loss of lives.
He said what motivated them this moment is the fact that the Ministry has been able to stand to that challenges by collaborating with all partners including local councils to come out with strategies that would help improve the health sector.
The Mayor reiterated that the strategic plan that they are contributing will also help to minimize wastages on areas where there are duplication of functions and resources.
The Director of Programmes, Focus 1000, Dr. Abu Pratt described the meeting as stakeholders meeting to chat the way forward and to contribute to the development of the National Health Sector Strategic Plan for 2017-2021.
He said it is a strategic plan that will strategically put together issues of where they are now, base on the fragile indicators they are about to address.
The Chairman for the meeting and Director of the Reproductive and Child Health, Dr. Santigie Sesay said the meeting is to discuss plans to develop a new National Health Sector Strategic Plan that would take them for the next five years and this plan will be the umbrella plan for the Ministry.
He said most Programmes and Directorates have their plans and policies but this strategic plan will cover all of that and ensure that they have a very good consultative meeting.
Dr. Sesay told the gathering that the Ministry have move away from the top bottom approach to the bottom top approach and deem it necessary to go round the districts to get inputs and contributions so that when they put these documents together it would be owned by all including the communities.
At the Sahara Hotel in Makeni, the Chief of Field Office, UNICEF, Abdulai Jalloh said the strategy when finalized would provide the framework that will guide the efforts of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and its partners over the next five years in attaining desired national health outcomes and as well the health-related Sustainable Development Goals for Serra Leone.
He said UNICEF aims to support national efforts to accelerate the realization of the rights of children and women by improving access to services, developing the capacity of systems, building resilience among households and communities, and providing social protection to the poorest and most vulnerable families.
Other highlights include statements from the Chairman of the Bo District Council, Joseph Munda Bindi, the Chairman, Bombali District Council, John Shanghai Koroma, and the District Medical Officers, Bo and Bombali, Dr. Alhaji Sayni Turay, and Dr. Brima Osaio Kamara.
Group work on Identification of priority interventions and action; A look at the draft NHSSP 2017-2021 and plenary discussions formed high point of the two meetings.