By Jonathan Abass Kamara
Plans are currently underway for the establishment of a School of Clinical Sciences in Sierra Leone. Health Minister Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah tells the nation.
President Koroma in his wisdom made no mistake to appoint a medical professional in the Health Ministry that has the vision and initiative including all it takes in addressing the infrastructural and human resource gaps in building a resilient health system for a country coming from the ashes of war and the Ebola tragedy that left very many health professionals dead. Some of them specialized in their area of discipline.
Health and Sanitation Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah on Monday January 16, 2017 on the African Young Voices (AYV) Television using the Kaleidoscope to outline his initiatives and vision to building a resilient health system with support from his professional team, the World Bank, the Government and other partners spoke on current projects which includes the School of Clinical Services, the National Emergency Medical Services (NEMS), the Postgraduate Medical Training Programme, the District Capacity Strengthening Project and the Expanded Sanitary Inspection Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement (ESICOME) programme among others. Exploring the development highlighted by the dynamic visionary Minister, this time we shall be looking at the inception of the School of Clinical Sciences to be followed by the rest of the other programmes in subsequent editions.
The School of Clinical Sciences was conceived out of the realization that in the very near future, we can boast of having doctors deployed to every corner of the country. To accomplish this, the Ministry and the Ernest Bai Koroma led government has put in place mechanism to train a new generation of health workers that would be able to perform a range of tasks that were historically preserve for doctors through what the Health Minister called ‘Task shifting’. “It is along these lines that with the World Bank we committed ourselves to accelerate the local training of middle level health workers in life-saving medical and surgical interventions to act as Physician Assistants where there are no doctors or in short supply”, the Minister told AYV Television.
Progress made along the line is that the School Board of Directors is been appointed as well as the management team, lecturers available, and advertisements are already out for those who would meet the requirement. A curriculum refinement seminar is schedule for end of January 2017 to finalize the curriculum, and the school’s operation optimistically to commence soon.
One good thing about this laudable venture is that it would create employment, help address the brain drain in the medical profession, and ease the problem of going abroad for professional training.
In laying the foundation the Health Ministry has commenced the deployment of 43 medical doctors, four radiographers and four laboratory scientists nationwide. It is envisaged that by the end of January 2017 all 43 medical personnel will be in post. This additional number will lead to an improvement in the number of practising doctors in the public sector from the current number of 148 to 191.
Next edition, we shall be looking at the National Emergency Medical Service (NEMS) or National Ambulance Service aimed at promoting referral, maternal and child health right across the country. Already, with support from the World Bank there is an Ambulance Boat Service currently covering six riverine areas in the Bonthe district.