Dilating on the launch of the Free Health Care Initiative by President Koroma, Dr. Fofanah noted that the initiative embraces the National Malaria Control Programme’s efforts of spear heading the distribution of over 3 million Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets throughout the country in November 2010. The Ministry of Health and partners, to maintain the gains and improve on the strategy he said, was also able to distribute to households over 3.5 million treated nets nationwide free of cost from June 5 to 14, 2014, pointing out that percentage of people having access to Artemisivin combination therapy for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria increased from 36 percent in 2005 to 84 percent in 2015.
The success story continues with the management of free malaria treatment for all age groups in all public facilities.
On the Roll Back Malaria Initiative and the Sustainable Development Goals, Dr. Fofanah opined that Sierra Leone committed itself to the Roll Back Malaria initiative since 1998 which eventually builds on the Global Malaria Strategy with a focus on Africa on April 25, 2000 at the Abuja Summit in Nigeria. The Roll Back Malaria partnership and African Health Ministers set targets of exceeding 80 percent coverage he for available cost effective interventions by 2010. Sierra Leone, Dr. Fofanah reminded his audience, subscribes to the Global MDGs and Abuja targets to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality thereby reducing human suffering, socio-economic loss and promote economic development.
The National Malaria Strategic Plan 2016-2020 the Minister said is aligned with the Health Sector Recovery Plan 2015-2020 and was developed based on the recommendations of the Global Technical Strategy 2016-2030 and the Roll Back Malaria partnership’s Action and Investment to defeat malaria 2016-2030 to ensure shared goals and complementarily. These initiatives Dr. Fofanah maintained share the time frame of the Sustainable Development Goals.
He expressed gratitude and appreciation to the Global Fund partnership for the invaluable support to the malaria, HIV and TB programmes though faced with some challenges in handling cases, and encouraged the public to know that malaria is preventive and treatable. Dr. Fofanah reminded participants about their role in financial management for excellence with transparency and accountability being the centre piece.
Other highlights include achievements made within this short period: The Service Level Agreement (SLA) approach for the health sector, the recently passed Bill in Parliament on the Post graduate medical training programme and the establishment of a Teaching Hospital Administration. Also on the pipeline is the National Ambulance System that would expand access to emergency transportation to health facilities, the revival of the Expanded Sanitary Inspection Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement (ESICOME) programme, and the coming in of foreign medical teams to boost the human resource for health sector.
Making his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, David Banya described the event as a new venture in the Post Ebola Recovery era with the desire to achieve a positive engagement with all stakeholders.
He reminded participants he described as frontline health workers across the country that the diversity of views that would be articulated in the three days meeting will undoubtedly provide the right ingredient for the implementation of the 2016 programme.
Mr. Banya underscored the importance of the objectives of the meeting pointing out that key among them are to share experiences and lessons learnt and identify gaps aimed at facilitating support for effective programme implementation.
The Chairman, Country Coordinating Mechanism Sierra Leone Secretariat, Rev. Alimamy Kargbo commended the Ministry of Health and Sanitation for recognizing his Secretariat as an integral part to the event.
The meeting he noted would help discuss the bottle necks and solution, and reiterated the CCM continued support to the Ministry and all partners.
Other speakers include the District Medical Officer Bombali, Dr. Brima Osaio Kamara and the representative of the UN Family, Dr. Ngozi Keneddy.
Updates on Global Fund procurement, Financial and management policies, the malaria programme implementation and other key presentations formed part of the review meeting.