By Jonathan Abass Kamara
The Free Health Care was officially launched by the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma in 2010 to reduce maternal child and newborn deaths. Until the Ebola virus disease outbreak, the Free Health Care was effectively and successfully making impact in all government health facilities with beneficiaries: the under-five, lactating mothers and pregnant women accessing the facilities.
Health and Sanitation Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah and team determined
In the post Ebola era, and towards the end of the Ebola after series of community engagement by the Ministry’s Public Relations and Health Education Units, confidence was restored in the system and we started seeing beneficiaries in their good numbers at outpatient and Antenatal Care Clinics to date.
Challenges on drugs and medical supplies were addressed by providing quarterly supplies to the hospitals, among them the main referral hospitals Princess Christian Maternity and the Ola During Children’s hospitals, district hospitals.
The current situation on the utilization of drugs and staff attitude became a growing concern by the Health Ministry, and a monitoring system stepped up by the Directorate of Nursing Services and the Office of the Chief Medical Officer under the leadership of the minister but saboteurs within and outside the health facilities across the country resorted to unpatriotic act to beat the system, painting a negative picture on the system. Some Nurses have been accused of selling drugs to patients, and in some cases patients charged for scan test they are not supposed to pay for. These and other allegations have resulted to the mounting of a robust monitoring against people I would refer to as the enemies of the state and our vulnerable population.
We have seen a situation where the dynamic Minister of Health made arrest of some drivers for misuse of ambulances, prosecuted, charged to court and convicted.
The role of ambulance in the fight against maternal deaths is eminent and therefore its misuse is unacceptable.
The progress made on the Free Health Care cannot be allowed to go down drain by unscrupulous and unpatriotic citizens, hence more robust actions have been put in place against health workers found wanting.
The unethical behavior of some health workers has been placed on a platform of hire and fine against culprits who would want to sabotage the system.
The Senior Gynecologist and Medical Superintendent, Princess Christian Maternity Hospital, Dr. Alimamy Philip Koroma on Tuesday August 30, 2016 summoned an emergency meeting with In-Charges of the various units in his hospital to acquaint them about the new measures and penalties now put in place by the Directorate of Nursing and the office of the Chief Medical Officer under the leadership of the Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah to administratively and judiciously deal with saboteurs and encouraged the public to support the move by exposing any corrupt practice by health workers in the discharge of their duties.
“I am going to be flexible but galvanize to ensure that the Free Health Care operates towards achieving its desired goal and the aspiration of the President and the Health Minister and team achieved”, Dr. Alimamy Philip Koroma.