Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr Abu Bakarr Fofanah (left), Head of Anglophone Africa Division at GAVI, Dr Maryse Dugue (centre), and Executive Director of GAVI, Dr Seth Berkley (right)
Geneva, May 25, 015 (SLENA) – The GAVI Vaccine Alliance took the opportunity of African Ministers of Health attending the 68th World Health Assembly, to host its Anglophone Africa Constituency Meeting at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Prior to the Constituency meeting, GAVI met with the Sierra Leone Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah where the organisation expressed satisfaction over the ongoing reforms in the Ministry, including the re-establishment of the Integrated Health Projects Administration Unit (IHPAU). In addition to GAVI, the re-establishment of IHPAU has the support of the World Bank, the Global Fund and other donors. IHPAU will have a dual role, building the capacity of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation as well as management of donor funds channelled through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation for the Health Sector Recovery Plan, which emphasises Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health (RMNCH).
GAVI is a long-time partner of Sierra Leone and the organisation is being credited with most of the gains the country has made over the years in the area of immunisation, including the country reaching immunisation coverage as high as 98% prior to the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak. It could be recalled that sometime in 2012/13, the relationship between the Health and Sanitation Ministry and GAVI reached a low ebb due to some unfortunate institutional lapses on the part of the Ministry. The institutional reforms taking place in the Ministry will restore partner confidence and is welcomed by all partners.
As a result of the positive strides the Ministry is taking, GAVI has expressed its willingness to re-engage with the Ministry. As a show of that commitment, the organisation is poised to again support the Ministry with a whooping sum of $1 million towards the upcoming Measles and Polio campaigns. This commitment was made to the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah at a pre-meeting to the Anglophone Africa Constituency Meeting which the Minister attended. This commitment by GAVI is additional to its support to the recently concluded immunisation campaign week (Mamie En Pikin Welbodi Week). The Minister also learned about a recent successful GAVI replenishment meeting that took place in Berlin, Germany – an outcome that positions GAVI to continue its support to its recipient countries, including Sierra Leone.
The Minister welcomed the great news and expressed his appreciation, that of His Excellency, the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, his government and the people of Sierra Leone. He informed GAVI that the government’s Agenda for Prosperity places great premium in investing in people particularly children so that every child will grow up to achieve his/her full potential. Ensuring that every child is immunised is one of the most scientifically proven cost-effective means of investing in a child’s future. He thanked GAVI for Sierra Leone performance in the just released WHO scorecard on immunisation coverage which clearly shows that the country was well on the trajectory of development prior to the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak.