WORLD BANK BOOSTS PRESIDENT KOROMA’s POST EBOLA HEALTH SECTOR RECOVERY AGENDA
L –R Mr. Paminder Brar, World Bank Country Manager, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah, Minister of Health and Sanitation at the joint press briefing on the outcome of the World Bank’s Board meeting on the Bank’s support to the health sector.
At a well-attended press conference jointly organized by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) and the World Bank (WB) at the latter’s country office, the World Bank Country Manager Mr. Parminder Brar has announced that the Board and Management of the World Bank has in the past two weeks approved two new projects totalling USD 45.5m for Sierra Leone’s Health Sector. The approved projects are the Regional Disease Surveillance (REDISE) Project and the Health Services Delivery Project (HSDP). The approval of support by the Bank he went on to say has to do with the thinking that has been put into the project by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation as well as the amount of confidence that the Bank has in the Leadership of the country at the highest level, the government and people of Sierra Leone.
The new Country Manager went on to say that Sierra Leone has faced many challenges in the past and continue to face even more challenges in the Post Ebola period. He went on to add that what he admired about the country is its resilience and ability to bounce back from the brinks each time it is challenged. The Bank is proud to be part of the country’s Post Ebola Recovery Agenda having supported the country during its most difficult period-during the outbreak. This support he said is over and above the approximately USD 27 million left over from the Emergency Ebola Response Project (EERP).
Mr. Brar lauded the efforts of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in establishing the Integrated Health Projects Administration Unit (IHPAU) to improve the financial management capability of the ministry, accelerate implementation of donor funded projects, and reduce delays due to cancellations and withholding of funds due to weak fiscal systems.
In his response, the Minister of Health and Sanitation Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah gave a historical recollection of the World Bank’s engagement with Sierra Leone. He said the relationship spans years and has been very fruitful. This is because the relationship between the Bank and the Country is grounded on the spirit of true partnership, reciprocal dependence, and mutual respect for the core values of both institutions.
He gave a vivid recount of the Bank’s support to the country before, during, and now after the EVD. He said the first source of external funding to the EVD response effort came from the World Bank when the Bank had to quickly reprogrammed funds originally meant for another project to help with the response.
The Health and Sanitation Minister gave a rundown of the several projects that the MOHS has been working on with the Bank including the Emergency Medical Services Project that was designed to improve the referral system and boost the President’s Free Health Care, and the Postgraduate Medical Training Programme that has led to the accreditation of two of the country’s biggest hospitals; Connaught and the Ola During University Teaching Hospitals by the West African Postgraduate Medical College to commence specialist medical training respectively in surgery and paediatrics.
The Minister went on to highlight the unique nature of the Bank’s support to the government. He said the World Bank is the only major donor that channels its support directly through government structures and does not use parallel structures. The Bank builds structures where there are no structures and strengthen them where they are in existence but weak.
On behalf of His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, his government and people, Dr. Fofanah thanked the Bank immensely for its goodwill towards the government and people of Sierra Leone.