Deputy Health Minister launches Nursing and Midwifery Strategic Documents

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The Programme was organized by the Directorate of Nursing and Midwifery Services in collaboration with the Nurses and Midwives Board of Sierra Leone through support of WHO, UNFPA, ICAP and other health development partners.

Speaking on the theme: “Nursing and Midwifery: Making a difference in achieving Universal Health Coverage for improved health outcomes, Madam Madina Rahman reiterated that the theme is befitting considering the journey they have traveled in Sierra Leone during the Ebola and now the flood disasters causing distress of the nation.

She maintained that despite these challenges, as a Ministry they continue with their effort of rebuilding a resilient health system to manage the many health challenges the people are facing.

The Deputy Health Minister stated that the launch of these key nursing and midwifery strategic documents is timely to support the establishment of a viable and sustainable resilient health system which is responsive to national health needs.

Improving quality of the education of nurses and midwives, she said builds on the mandate of the President’s Recovery Priorities to strengthen the health sector in order to save the lives of 6oo women and 5000 children by 2018.

In her statement, UNFPA Representative, Dr. Kim Dickson, underscored the importance of the documents and how it would help reduce infant and maternal mortality rate in the country, and assured of UNFPA’s continued support to the Ministry of Health at all times.

Acting WHO Representative, Alexander Chimbaru said the strategic documents will improve the quality of nursing and midwifery education, practice and regulation in Sierra Leone.

Giving an overview of the Strategic Nursing and Midwifery documents, the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Matron Hossinatu Koroma said despite encouraging gains the government has made in the health sector, infant and maternal mortality levels remain intractably high.

She informed her audience that if timely improvement of the performance of the health system is to be achieved in Sierra Leone, urgent action is needed to address the challenges that seriously undermine the potential contribution of the nursing and midwifery services for improved health outcomes.

Matron Koroma disclosed that the Directorate of Nursing and Midwifery Services for the first time has developed a policy for strengthening of its services, adding that it will serve as a guide to the Directorate in addressing the identified nursing and midwifery challenges and in turn contribute to improved health performance.

She said the policy is also developed and designed to provide stakeholders with an overarching framework for the necessary collaborative action and to create a positive environment for nursing and midwifery governance, leadership and practice.

The Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer maintained that nurses and midwives constitute the majority of frontline health workers, and contribute to the quality of health care services, adding that if supported adequately can increase access to quality care.

The Chair, West African College of Nursing, Sierra Leone Chapter, Mrs. Patricia Bah described the launching as another major stride in the history of nursing in Sierra Leone.

She said the launching of the documents clearly demonstrated that the Directorate of Nursing and Midwifery and the Nurses and Midwives Board are ready to change the perception people have about them and to change the way they do things in the profession.

Mrs. Bah noted that nursing is a profession within the health care sector that focuses on the care of individuals, families and communities so as to attain maintain or recover optimal health and quality of life.

The Director for Human Resource for Health and Chairman for the ceremony, Mr. Edward Kwame Yankson, stressed the significance of the documents to the nursing profession and the public in general, and congratulated the Directorate of Nursing and Midwifery Services for the initiative in launching these documents.

Highlights of the ceremony include statements from the Chairman, Parliamentary Committee on Health, Mr. Abdulai Sesay and the Chairman, Health Service Commission, Dr. Arthur Williams.