He said the idea of the recruitment is to populate the health centres, PHUs and hospitals with health personnel, adding that next year 2000 health personnel will be recruited of which 1000 will be in February and 1000 in June 2019. He added that by 2019 the National Health System will be operational with a view to transforming the health sector, adding that plans are underway for the construction of an equipped Cancer Centre in Sierra Leone of which the government will pay in the seven years period.
Dr. Wurie informed his audience that the Ministry will be introducing school health programme in which health centres will be open in schools and nurses will treat minors and referred majors to the hospital. He also noted that due to the high rate of teenage pregnancies in the country, the Ministry will introduce family planning at schools to teach school going pupils about family planning and to pay attention on learning rather than engaged in sex .
He called on Paramount Chiefs, stakeholders including civil society groups and the communities to take ownership of the drugs to ensure that it is not stolen, but reaches the beneficiaries
UNICEF Maternal and Neonatal Health Specialist, Dr. Asha Pun said when the Free Health Care Initiative started, UNICEF was with the Ministry of Health for the procurement of the drugs and even the distribution up to the last mile.
She described the distribution exercise is a commitment of the Ministry by showing that they are accountable to what they have said in ensuring that the free health care drugs reaches the right group of people with the right services.
Dr. Pun stated that the drugs are one of the main pillars for good quality health in the country and assured of UNICEF’s continued support to the Health Ministry for the procurement of these drugs, and hope the distribution exercise will be undertaken by the Ministry which is a very good step forward.
Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Augustine Anthony Sandi reminded all that they are in Bo to hand over the drugs not only to the health sector, but the entire Bo district, especially the Paramount Chiefs, other stakeholders including religious leaders, women leaders and youth leaders.
He appealed to them to be on the watch for the appropriate use of these drugs, adding that if they saw people stealing the drugs, their duties are to report the matter to the appropriate authorities for actions.
Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Robert Tamba Chakanda said any country that is planned is the country that is moving forward in development, adding that any country that is not planned is the country that is looking to the interest of the people.
He commended the Ministry of Health for the coordinated drugs distribution exercise and pledged his Ministry’s support at all time.
Handing over of the free healthcare drugs by the Health Minister, Dr. Alpha Wurie formed the high point of the ceremony.