Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 January 2019:
Last weekend, president Julius Maada Bio officially opened the newly constructed community health centre in Makali, Kunike Barina Chiefdom, Tonkolili District, Northern Sierra Leone. The facility has been established with funding from the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID).
DfID’s Representative, Sandra Baldwin, said the new health centre has been supported as part of their continued support to the health sector in the country, and that the facility will contribute to the provision of high quality health service and safe child birth in the country.
She said DfID and other partners have seen progress being made by the new government in all sectors, especially the health sector – for which DfID will continue to support the President in his vision to better the lives of Sierra Leoneans.
“We are supporting 230 WASH facilities in Peripheral Health Units across the country and also training 4,000 health workers. We are also supporting the distribution of essential drugs for the free healthcare programme,” she said.
The Family Planning and Sexual Reproductive Health Technical Specialist, acting as officer-in-charge for the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), Dr Abiodun Chris Oyeyipo, said that the Makali Community Health Centre (CHC), is serving a population of 7,150 people and providing 24 hours service.
He said that the facility has been built to elevate the provision of quality maternal, new-born and child health services, focusing on basic emergency obstetric care.
The UNFPA representative reiterated that they would continue to provide technical, financial and logistical support to ensure reproductive health improvement in Sierra Leone, with investments of over USD2.9 million for contraceptive procurement in 2017 and over USD1.9 million already in 2018.
“Your Excellency, we urge the Ministry of health and Sanitation to ensure the posting of adequate skilled health manpower to this facility so that the investment will not be in vain. I also urge the community of Makali, especially our women and young people, to avail themselves of the use of this beautifully refurbished facility for the improvement of the health status of the community and especially women and young people,” he urged.
Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr Alpha Wurie, said he is delighted that the completion of the facility will see an improvement in health conditions in Tonkolili district. He added that the government is committed to improving the conditions of service for health workers, disclosing that the government will provide allowance for health workers so they could perform their duties effectively.
He said that government is committed to providing basic healthcare facilities in every chiefdom across the country, and that the presence of the president at the opening ceremony is a manifestation of his commitment to ensure inclusive development in every part of the country.
In his address, President Bio expressed his appreciation for the support of development partners, especially DfID, for helping to improve healthcare in the country. He said quality healthcare is an essential component of his government’s key priority of human capital development.
The president emphasised that human capital development is about taking care of the health, providing food for the stomach and providing quality education for the brain.
“We have started with education and we are now working better to improve healthcare in the country, because quality education will not mean much without quality healthcare. As a government, we are making our own efforts to better the lives of our citizens,” he assured.
He said that the new facility is for the community and that they should take ownership by ensuring that the hospital and drugs are used for the intended purposes. He noted that with the new facility, patients will no longer need to travel far distance in search of medical care.