Freetown, Aug. 10, 015 (MOHS) – The Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation II, Madam Madina Rahman has described the 1960 Public Health Act as extremely old and requires an urgent review to making it responsive to the modern trends of public health planning and administration.
Deputy Health and Sanitation Minister II, Madam Madina Rahman making her inaugural speech
Addressing the inauguration of the Working Group for the review of the Act at the Sierra Light House Hotel conference hall in Aberdeen Freetown, Deputy Minister Madam Rahman said the vision for Sierra Leone’s Public Health is to create the awareness that health is part of the lives of the people and helps to achieve the needs of the people. The essence of the new legislation the Deputy Minister said is to impact the nation that the health of people is better protected and improve when stakeholders work together to create a conducive environment in communities.
Madam Rahman observed that private health facilities currently operate under no specific regulatory provisions, mostly in the urban areas. She reiterated that there are also indications that traditional healers and birth attendants offer services to many Sierra Leoneans in the rural communities, adding that the public health delivery system in the country is currently based on the primary health care concept, comprising three levels: peripheral health units, district hospitals for secondary care, and regional hospitals for tertiary care.
She told her audience that the review would provide an opportunity to define their respective roles and opportunities, and counts on them to effectively make their inputs for posterity.
Madam Rahman expressed gratitude to Adam Smith International and other partners who in various ways contributed to the review process, hoping that the review would make the necessary impact.
The Consultant Adam Smith International Kwebena Sarpong Manu expressed their determination and commitment to work with the Ministry of Health, the Law Officers Department and the Law Reforms Commission to spare head the completion of the project by September 201
Commenting on the purpose of the review Mr. Manu said government as part of the general reform of the sector promulgated the Hospital Board Act of 2003 and the Local Government Act of 2004, adding that these laws seek to devolve responsibility of specified central government functions to the local level with a view to maximizing efficiency.
He opined that the structure clearly relegates to the background environmental health and sanitation which he noted is a critical component of a modern public health system. Mr. Manu outlined among the key issues and challenges identified by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the existing health statutes and regulations as out dated, the environmental health and sanitation department sector as weak, and coordination and administration poorly managed. Among the actions and targets proposed by the Ministry in its National Health Sector Strategic Plan 2010-2015, Mr. Manu continued, is to review the legal framework and provide the necessary capacities for implementation of the targets set in the plan.
In reviewing the existing legislative framework, the Ministry reiterates the government’s commitment to primary health care approach to health care delivery with emphasis on prevention and primary care services as cost-effective strategies. This calls for strengthening and equipping the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate to promote and enforce good environmental health practices in the country.
The Director of the Environmental Health and Sanitation, Dr. Ansumana Sillah disclosed that over 200 Public Health Aides have recently been trained with ongoing plans for more trainings and recruitment.