Sierra hosted delegates from the four member states of the Mano River Union (MRU), Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Cote d’ Ivoire on a two-day workshop to validate recent assessment reports on border health facilities across the sub region.
The assessment studies were conducted in the four MRU countries. They focus on community health structures and networks to assess opportunities for the post-Ebola surveillance system. Across the sub-region, health facilities in border communities are in deplorable condition. Road networks are terrible. Health facilities are improper. Transportation systems are inefficient and health workers are insufficient.
The Ebola outbreak in the sub-region exposed the weak health sectors across the region. The crisis served as an eye opener on the need for rapid and effective responses to the development of the health sectors.
Deputy Secretary General, MRU Sierra Leone, Linda Koroma, explained the main focus of the assessment reports is to identify challenges, risks of improper health facilities and to proffer solutions on how to manage border health facilities.
She mentioned that in September 2012 Health Experts in the MRU converged in Guinea to develop a sub-regional strategy for enhancing health care delivery services. “In that meeting a proposal was made to draft a framework for the formulation of a sub-regional health protocol”.
According to the MRU secretariat, in 2012, the West African Health Organization (WAHO) and MRU initiated a dialogue to conduct an assessment of Border Health Facilities but that was halted with the Ebola outbreak.
Dr. Sarian Kamara from Ministry of Health and Sanitation stated that for far too long communities along the borders have been neglected and deprived of basic amenities. She emphasised that the assessment proved that there is urgent need to improve on the health sector as the border communities are in deplorable conditions in terms of health facilities.
The cross border assessment reports should serve as a planning tool for the various countries to be used on how to develop the health sector said the Liberian Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Catherine Cooper. Dr. Cooper said the findings in the assessment revealed that MRU countries are faced with similar challenges.
Validation workshop started on 20 April and will end on 21 April 2017 at the Hill Valley Hotel in Freetown.
By Mariam S. Bah
Friday April 21, 2017.