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Sierra Leone News: Every Chiefdom is entitled to a Community Health Centre

Minister of Health and Sanitation Dr. Alpha Wurie

The Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Alpha Tejan Wurie, has said that every chiefdom is entitled to a well-equipped and furnished Community Health Centre (CHC) that will provide safe pre and post-natal care, safe baby delivery, diagnose non-communicable diseases and run 35 basic health tests. The Minister attended the opening of the newly constructed CHC and staff accommodations in Makali in the Kunike Barina Chiefdom, Tonkolili District on Saturday 19th January 2019. The Makali CHC is one of 12 Community Health Centres to be constructed and rehabilitated across the country by the government and donors including DFID and UNFPA. The project is being supported by the Department for International Development (DFID). According to the 2017 Ministry of Health Facility list, Statistics Sierra Leone and the government 2015/16 Population and Housing Census summary, there are 108 Health facilities in Tonkolili District including 12 CHCs, eight Community Health Posts, 84 Maternal and Child Health Posts, one clinic and three hospitals serving 531,435 people in the District. The Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Alpha Tejan Wurie, said through DFID’s Saving Lives program they are rehabilitating and building CHCs and staff quarters with modern equipment. Minister Dr. Wurie told a gathering in Kono, the Ministry had put in to use 167 ambulances to provide services for free to every citizen. The Ministry will employ 4,000 health workers between January to June as part of the Governments efforts to increase the number of health workers across the country. The Minister said the issue of PIN codes and other allowances will soon be a thing of the past. He also informed that plans are under way to develop the Community Health Officer Bill into an Act, which will demonstrate a commitment to rehabilitating the health sector in 2019. The Family Planning and Sexual Reproductive Health Technical Specialist at UNFPA, Abiodun Chris Oyeyipo, said assessments had revealed the poor quality of care provided by some of the health facilities in the country, which resulted in avoidable maternal and newborn deaths. They approached DFID and secured funding to support the refurbishment and equipping of selected CHC facilities and hospitals. Oyeyipo said the aim of the intervention was to elevate the quality of care in the CHC to the required standards to provide quality maternal, newborn and child health services with a focus on basic emergency obstetrics and newborn care. The UNFPA expert said they bought maternity ward beds, delivery beds, blood pressure machines, stethoscopes, normal and assisted delivery equipment, resuscitation and sterilization equipment. President Julius Maada Bio said taking care of the health system should always go with food security and quality education.  The President said taking care of the health system is the responsibility of the Government and that whenever partners like DFID are supporting the sector it is incumbent on the community and other stakeholders to do due diligence in maintaining the facilities. The DFID representative, Sandra Baldwin, said they have supported the construction and rehabilitation of 230 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities in CHCs and trained 4,000 health workers.

MK/21/1/19

By Mohamed Kabba

Twitter: @chikakabba

Tuesday January 22, 2019.

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