By Jonathan Abass Kamara :
“The Ebola hits us when we are vulnerable” says Health and Sanitation Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah during the presentation of his vision for 2015-2016/2016-2020 for Sierra Leone’s Health System Reconstruction.
Health and Sanitation Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah
Sharing his vision to Directors, Programme Managers, Medical Superintendent of Hospitals and other senior health officials of his Ministry at a meeting held in the Ministry’s conference hall at Youyi Building in Freetown, the Minister lamented the Ebola outbreak, describing the current situation as a constrained health system.
The Minister who is poised to put leadership and governance structures in place by promoting health care in a conceptual frame work that would make the Ministry’s policies operates in one direction, calls for the total support of all cadres to numerically strengthen the health system for growth and national development. The need to improve coordination and communication, accountability, putting in place the basic ingredients of a functioning and responsive health system, review of the National Health Sector 2011-2015 Strategic Plan, building blocks for posterity as the hall mark for effective and efficient service delivery formed part of the messages his presentation.
The attainment of good governance in a truly democratic state is contingent upon the existence of a well-informed citizenry. Health and Sanitation Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah underscored the importance of ensuring that his responsibility as political head of the Ministry bring together the health professionals that would help transform his vision into reality, noting the vulnerable position of Sierra Leone at the peak of the Ebola crisis.
VISION 2015-2016 BATTLE TESTED
Dilating on the Recovery Phase, Dr. Fofanah described vision 2015-2016 as “a tested battle”, and Vision 2016-2020, a period of building resilience, noting the challenges in the fight to capacitate the health workforce through capacity building, rehabilitation and reconstruction of lost infrastructures, addressing donor fatigue and putting in place the necessary professional equipment for effective service delivery, and carrier path development through specialized and in-service training.
Taking into account challenges on weak surveillance and real time data, high mortality rates, limited training among other issues, Dr. Fofanah in his dream plans to establish a National Ambulance Service by end of Ebola with a Marshall plan for the utilization of 200 ambulances to ensure Medical Superintendents and Hospital Matrons use their utility vehicles, Establishment of In-service Training Centre in all four regions in the country, Support training institutions financially to discourage the growing existence of mushroom health institutions, and strengthen the Environmental Health and Sanitation unit as a Special Public Health Programme.
The plan to construct an ultra-modern National Medical Centre of excellence on a 59 Acre land at Kerry Town with the possibility of another 200 acres of land at the same Kerry Town, gives a ray of hope and despair in building a sound health system for Sierra Leone. The Medical Centre, according to the Minister, would make provision for hostels, training, Resource Centre and Research.
Other highlights for development includes, strategy to encourage pre-education, building national capacity to manage all key processes that enables access to medicines, a road map to improve performance and Health Information Systems that would yield maximum and credible data for the country’s health sector.