Violation of people’s right to health in Sierra Leone

The president has during his first term in office taken steps to improve the health sector in Sierra Leone.

He has increased the salaries of health practitioners and introduced Free Medical Care for under-fives, pregnant and lactating women.

These steps have undoubtedly improved the lives of this group of people.

However, little or no firm actions have been taken against mala fide health practitioners, whose negligence and indiscipline have jeopardized the lives of Sierra Leoneans.

In the past years we have witnessed pregnant women, under-fives and lactating women meeting their untimely death as a result of the arrant negligence of doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

On one occasion a pregnant woman and her unborn child passed away because the doctor refused to treat ‘them’ simply because he could not work on Sunday.

This insufficient action or inaction by the government is a violation of not only the people’s right to health but also to their right to life.

The right to health is a “fundamental aspect of our human rights and of our understanding of life in dignity”.

The right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health has been recognized in various international human rights instruments.

In most parts of Sierra Leone, especially the remotest parts, there is no physical access to health care.

Pregnant women, children, the invalid and the aged have to travel long distances before accessing a health centre.

The quality of health facilities, goods and services in Sierra Leone leaves a lot to wish for. Most of the health practitioners are not qualified to perform the duties that they are supposed to carry out.

Furthermore, little efforts have been made to stop the importation of unsafe drugs. These fake drugs exacerbate the health hazards that Sierra Leoneans are facing.

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