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Sierra Leone News: Govt. loses in the absence of an effective ambulance service- Dr Kenneh

Ambulance services are a challenge. Some districts are without ambulances. Because of the very poor road networks, the ambulances that are functioning often require frequent repairs. With the absence of the referral system, the government loses a lot in terms of time and money spent to take care of a patient that comes in with complications. “We need to complete the operationalization of the ambulance emergency services to save the minimal resources that we have as a country,” said the Director of Reproductive Health. Dr. Sattie Kenneh was advocating for resources to be allocated towards effective service delivery, with a budget request of Le44 billion of hospital and ambulance service division of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS). Dr. Kenneh said that it will take two or three litres of drip to take care of a normal patient that comes without complications and they may need ten times that when a woman or a person comes with complications. “That is the naked truth, if a pregnant woman comes and you give an elective caesarean section, you spend less, a litre of drip can suffice when you come with obstructed labour in a very difficult stage, you now need to release two cartons and a very long period.” He stressed the need for the operationalization of the National Medical Supplies Agency (NMSA) for obvious reasons, as they require continuous supply of drugs, reagents and equipment. The cries from NGO partners, civil societies regarding the health system is because there are no commodities. Dr. Kenneh recalled that when he was in Moyamba that a pregnant woman got an eclamptic feet just two hours after leaving the PHU. He said he was furious and went to investigate. “I was particularly furious with the health facility staff, but the reality is the facility had no blood pressure machine and there was no machine for the lady to know that this woman has hypertension. Just by looking at her, you can’t say,” he said. Dr. Kenneh said that this is all the more reason they need their commodities to function to enable them to talk about health care. The MoHS budget has allocated over Le60 billion towards the procurement of drugs and medical supplies. In the reproductive and child health division they are requesting Le28 billion, where the indicators are the worst. He said they are mindful of where the problems lie and that is where they are putting more money. “We need to improve on the hospitals and our ambulance services, to run an ambulance service 24-hours is not an easy job, the fuel, the human resource, the movements, the wear and the tear is not an easy job, so we need all these things,” he pleaded. In terms of disease prevention and control, Dr. Kenneh said that events surveillance control in trying to minimize things that is where his directorate stands guilty. “We need to scale up and sustain the delivery of maternal, neonatal, child adolescent, including all of us adults systems within the whole country.” He continued that there are emerging and re-emerging emergency diseases; some are infectious, some are non-communicable. The MoHS needs to scale them up and sustain them. “We need a lot of investment in this.” He disclosed that they want to establish the national public health agency that will provide them with lot of support as everyone knows what Ebola did to the country, and with the setting up of this agency they can actually anticipate such cases before even they affect the citizens.

ZJ/3/10/18

By Zainab Iyamide Joaque

Thursday October 04, 2018.

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