Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 October 2019:
President Julius Maada Bio, yesterday opened the new King Harman Maternity and Children Hospital at Brookfields, which will largely cater for residents in the west of Freetown to ease pressure on the Cottage Hospital at Fourahbay Road in the east of the capital.
The $1.6 million newly constructed hospital which replaced the King Harman Road Satellite Clinic that was demolished in April 2017, has been built with support from the Government of Sierra Leone, in partnership with the United Nations Food Programme (UNFPA) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID).
Country Representative for the UNFPA, Dr Kim Dickson, said she is honoured to witness the official commissioning of the hospital by president Bio in support of his commitment to transforming the health infrastructure and healthcare delivery systems in the country. She called on the hospital management to take good care of the facilities and ensure the effective delivery of healthcare.
British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Simon Mustard, spoke about the strong partnership between the Government of Sierra Leone and the UK, which he said is built on a shared history and deep connections. He said he is excited that the partnership has led to the commissioning of the hospital to protect and save the lives of mothers and their children.
Minister of Health and Sanitation, Professor Alpha Tejan Wurie (Photo), said that the hospital will contribute to government’s efforts in creating a reliable and efficient health sector that is capable of providing quality healthcare for the people of Sierra Leone. He commended the President for the gains achieved so far in the health sector, saying that 2020 would see a turnaround in the sector.
In his keynote address, President Julius Maada Bio recalled that in his maiden address to the State Opening of the Fifth Parliament, he stated that the strategic objective of the health sector in the New Direction is to transform the under-resourced, ill-equipped, dysfunctional and inadequate healthcare infrastructure and delivery system, into a high quality, efficient, reliable, cost-effective, affordable and sustainable service.
“The thrust of this New Direction Government is increasing access to quality health services for all the population, particularly mothers, children and the elderly. Today marks another milestone in the delivery of my promise to the people of Sierra Leone. I feel so gratified to commission the King Harman Maternity and Children Hospital as a Centre of Excellence for the delivery of quality healthcare service.
“This Government has made significant contributions to improving our health sector. We have tackled head-on the grossly inadequate human resource in healthcare delivery, by increasing the present number of healthcare staff by 4,000. We have increased the national budget allocation on health from 8.9 to 11.6%,” he said.
President Bio also said that to address delays in accessing quality healthcare in health facilities, his government has commissioned and operationalised the National Emergency Medical Services in all districts in the country with over 4,000 referrals to date. He said he is committed to improving diagnostic capacity, adding that the government has allocated budget to establish the National Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Centre.
The president stated that his government has made tremendous progress in creating an effective and efficient healthcare system that meets the needs of citizens and provides compassionate and high-quality care.
He noted that despite these efforts, there is much to be done to prevent people from dying from preventable and treatable diseases.
“The importance of investments in quality care and patient safety is portrayed by government’s commitment to improving the status of our hospitals across the country. We have invested in and will continue to invest in constructing and equipping new hospitals across the country. One of such is this King Harman Hospital, which provides secondary level care to the people of this community and its environs,” he said.
He also commended DfID for providing the support to construct and equip the hospital, as the old hospital had exceeded its capacity, and said that the Ministry of Health and Sanitation will provide the staff, along with the required training and coaching of staff that will improve maternal, new-born and child health to ensure the hospital fulfils its mandate.
Patrick Cole, General Manager of C.L. Group Limited which designed the hospital architecture said the facility is a three-floors, 100 bed facility with wards, operating theatre, mortuary, kitchen, laundry and a host of other support services.
The King Harman Road Government Hospital is a comprehensive obstetric care hospital that will deal with complicated births and pregnancies. It will be supported for five years by DfID under the Saving Lives Programme, implemented by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and the UNFPA.
The aim of the DfID Saving Lives Programme is to save the lives of women, girls and children by improving on the quality, availability, and accessibility of reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) services. The programme will help the Government of Sierra Leone achieve the following targets:
• Reducing neonatal and child mortality by saving the lives of more than 22,000 children by 2021
• Reducing maternal mortality by saving the lives of more than 2,000 women who would otherwise die due to pregnancy and childbirth related causes by 2021
• Increase the use of quality RMNCAH services to reduce maternal and child mortality/morbidity and teenage pregnancies
• Increase the use of contraception especially among adolescent girls by enabling more than 134,000 women and girls to use family planning
• Reduce the prevalence and improve the management of childhood illnesses through the provision of free quality primary health care services
• Strengthen key health systems to underpin and sustain these health gains