By Kadrie Koroma
Health and Sanitation Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah has officially launched the 2016 Annual Health Sector Performance Report and the 2017 Health Sector Mid-year Review on Wednesday August 9, 2017 at the Catco International Hotel, Wilkinson Road in Freetown.
Health Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah launching the document
Launching the Report and declaring a three-day Review open, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah disclosed that the introduction of the Annual Health Sector Performance Review process some two years back was to serve as a tool to assist in gauging the progress as well as identifying the weaknesses and challenges.
He said through the annual Health Sector Performance Review, the Ministry is now better placed to make more informed public health decisions and ensure decisions are evidenced-based and data driven.
Dr. Fofanah informed his audience that the 2016 Health Sector Performance Review is of significance because it contains report of the first full year of implementation of health sector reconstruction activities of the Post-Ebola. He added that the report captures a wider range of indicators than the previous one, capturing most of the WHO core indicators as well as key national programmes indicators.
He said the mandate of the Health Sector is to contribute to the goal of improving the quality of life for all Sierra Leoneans by reducing the risk of ill-health, and the occurrence of premature deaths thereby contributing to the social and economic development of the country.
Giving a snapshot of the performance of the health sector in the period under review, Dr. Fofanah said the out-patient consultations for all categories of health care users have reach and in some facilities surpass the pre-Ebola level as all worked very hard to restore basic and essential health services as well as gain back the confidence of the people.
He said malaria, acute respiratory infections, malnutrition, and diarrhea continue to top the list as the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among the under-fives.
The Minister reiterated that maternal services with respect to deliveries in the period under review show that Antenatal care and institutional deliveries continue to increase, adding that of the 290, 777 pregnant women capture in the health facilities in 2016, 211, 194 completed their fourth Antenatal care visit giving an antenatal rate of 72.63 percent. He added that out of the same number 216, 678 ended up delivering in health facilities giving an institutional delivery rate of 74.5 percent, noting that out of these deliveries, 706 deaths were recorded giving a maternal mortality rate of 323/100, 000 live births among others.
He expressed thanks and appreciations to partners, the Technical and Administrative teams of the Ministry for their hard work.
DFID Senior Health Officer, Dr. Amit Bhandari said lots of progress has been done in the health care system but that more needs to be done in ensuring that skilled personnel are in place, emphasizing the need for quality data in the country.
He commended the Health Ministry for the hard work and assured of DFID’s commitment in supporting the Ministry at all times.
WHO Officer-In-Charge, Alexander Chimbaru commended the Ministry of Health and Sanitation for the significant achievement made in improving the health care delivery systems, stressing the need to put the achievement in to action for a resilient health care delivery system in the country.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer 1, Dr. Sarian Kamara said the health system like all other health systems around the world confronts multiple national challenges ranging from economic crisis to environmental disaster and from infectious disease outbreak to hidden epidemic of mental illness and malnutrition.
She informed her audience that recognizing these challenges, the Health Ministry with support from the government and partners has focused in strengthening the sector through a range of initiatives that address all the pillars of the health sector.
Dr. Kamara reiterated that the 2016 report presented shows lots of progress in the collective effort to strengthen the sector, and applauded the implementing District Health Management Teams, national Programmes, the Local Council, development partners and the leadership of the Directorate of Policy Planning and Information (DPPI) and team for driving this yearly process.
The Acting Planning Specialist, Mr. Alhassan Fouard Kanu said the aim of the Health Sector Performance Report is to report on the performance and progress of the Health System of Sierra Leone in improving the health outcomes for Sierra Leone.
He stated that the objective is to describe key quantitative indicators of health sector performance at the impact level, and provide an analysis of the trend in performance of Sierra Leone over time and comparative to similar countries.