Deputy Secretary General of the Union Linda Koroma submitted that in September 2012, the (MRU) secretariat organized its first sub-regional meeting of health experts and the ministerial commission on health and public hygiene in Conakry, Republic of Guinea.
She went on to say that the objectives of that meeting were to develop a sub-regional framework for addressing health related issues, especially along the borders, develop a sub-regional strategy for enhancing health care delivery services, and proposed as well as draft framework for the formulation of a sub-regional health protocol.
“Plans were on the ways to host another meeting when the Ebola outbreak interrupted.” She added.
The Deputy Secretary General furthered that the West African Health Organization (WAHO) and the MRU initiated dialogue in 2012 and 2013 respectively for the introduction of an assessment of border health facilities and that funds were provided for the assessment by WAHO but unfortunately, the outbreak of the Ebola put a halt to the assessment. She said that the Ebola Virus Disease placed heavy burden on the already weak health systems of the most affected countries (Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone) and greatly reversed the little gains they had made in the past, especially in Sexual Reproductive Maternal, Neonatal Adolescent Health Rights, and Family Planning.
She paused by saying that it was as a result of the lessons learnt from the Ebola outbreak that they thought it wise to conduct an assessment on the cross border health facilities of their member countries, so as to help them better strengthen their health systems. “Now that the assessment has been done, we are here to validate it, in order for us to implement the fact sourced”. She concluded.
Country Director of CARE Sierra Leone, Evariste Sindayigaya pledged his organization’s support towards improving the health sectors of MRU countries. He furthered that the meeting was important as it would enable them to validate the report of a very credible assessment done on the health facilities of cross-border communities within the MRU.
In her keynote address on behalf of the Minister of Health and Sanitation, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer (1) Dr. Sarian Kamara gave assurance that her ministry will definitely work together with the MRU to drastically improve the health sectors in member countries. She furthered that the Ebola greatly destroyed the already weak health systems of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and that it was only through collaborative efforts that they could revive the health systems of the affected countries. She said that the meeting was in line with the president’s Post-Ebola Recovery Priorities and therefore assured the gathering that the government of Sierra Leone would give its fullest support to the entire process.
The workshop was climaxed with a ministerial meeting for all member countries.