Health Minister, Prof. Alpha Tejan Wurie cutting the tape
By Kadrie Koroma-MOHS
Health and Sanitation Minister, Prof. Alpha Tejan Wurie has cut the tape to officially commissioned a newly rehabilitated maternity wards, operation theatre and a newly constructed 80 beds student hostel of the Tonkolili District College of Health Sciences on Friday February 14, 2020 at the Masanga hospital, Magburaka in the Tonkolili district.
The rehabilitation and construction project was funded by AFAS Foundation.
Speaking at the ceremony, Prof. Alpha Tejan Wurie underscored the importance of the facilities, stating that in 1964 Masanga was handed over to the SDA Mission to be used for services with regards to leprosy, adding that indeed they are par with the struggle in the fight against leprosy.
He informed his audience that the government of Sierra Leone handed over quite few of its facilities to agencies to work with and for the general public to know that these facilities re owned by the Sierra Leone government. He added that one such facility is the Choitram hospital which was handed over to the Choitram Foundation with the hope that it will do extreme surgical care or tertiary care in Sierra Leone. The other facility, he said is the Emergency hospital for trauma and other services and the Jui hospital that was built by the People’s Republic of China.
Prof. Alpha Wurie disclosed that way back in the 1960s, the government of Sierra Leone was able with the support of partners to put facility in the inter land, and commended the Italian for supporting development in Sierra Leone.
He informed the gathering that the Ministry has about 350 medical doctors, about 10 thousand specialist nurses and midwives, and about a thousand Community Health Officers (CHOs) who are the main frame of the health service in the country. He added that it does not mean that they devalue the role played by the medical officers, but to come to the interlands, they need the middle level support and that is where Masanga is key.
The Minister reiterated that it is time that they recognized that the largest cohort of nurses they have in the country are midwives and the largest providers for maternal and child services are midwives because they happened to be in the Community Health Centres and Community Health Posts.
He accused the community of the high rate of teenage deaths, because if they ensure that there are no adolescent pregnancies or adolescent child birth, then they would reduce maternal deaths by 40 percent, and thanked AFAS Foundation and Capacare for their support to the hospital.
Director of AFAS Foundation, Gerben Eversdijk said they support projects in more than 40 countries across the world.
He said every loss of life of a baby, a child or a mother that can be avoided by improving buildings or by the right therapy using the right equipment is the best reason to act.
Gerben Eversdijk said the AFAS Foundation always look for sustainability, and in order to become a fully government run hospital in the coming five years, a renewed strong commitment of the government to Masanga id necessary.
Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Donald Bash-Taqi stated that the Masanga hospital has been providing health services to a proportion of the Tonkolili and the its environs and is still providing services to the people.
He maintained that the hospital was focusing on rehabilitation and managing people with leprosy, but has gone far beyond by providing hospital services like training, research and a college.
The Principal, Tonkolili District College of Health Sciences, Amara Fornah said the College was established on 17th September 2012 in line with the educational programme of the Ministry of Health.
He said the College gain affiliation early 2020 to start a BSc in physiotherapy and is known to be the youngest and fastest growing nursing institution in Sierra Leone.
Highlight of the event include cutting of tape to officially open the facilities and a conducted tour of the various areas climaxed the ceremony.