In piloting the Bill, the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Abubakarr Fofanah said that it would serve as an institution for both under-graduate and post-graduate training in medical and allied health sciences; undertake research into health issues for the purpose of advancing medical knowledge and improving the health conditions of the people of Sierra Leone. It will also provide advanced health services that meet the highest international clinical and ethical standards. He furthered that since COMAHS was established 27 years ago, it has not been affiliated to any teaching hospitals, but rather to hospitals which are providing services, such as Connaught, Lakka Government Hospital, PCMH etc.
Members of Parliament roundly praised the Minister for what they described as a laudable initiative aimed at improving the health sector, particularly in research and medication. They said, this initiative would reduce the need and cut down on the cost of medication for Sierra Leoneans seeking treatment in overseas countries like Ghana, India and elsewhere. The end product was what they referred to as a transformative healthcare delivery system, noting ebola and the “zika virus” that is currently a health emergency in the world. They also raised concerns on the composition of the Board, and staff that would be placed on secondment.
In closing the debate, both Majority and Acting Minority Leaders of the House said that the Bill was meant to strengthen the health system so that it could match medical facilities in West Africa and other Commonwealth countries; and that the teaching hospitals would not only benefit Sierra Leoneans, but other nationals as well.
The Bill, after consideration at a later date, will go through the “Committee Stage”, where it will be thoroughly scrutinized, then “Read the Third Time” and passed into law.