Addressing Data Collectors and Supervisors drawn from the 13 districts on a ten-day SARA Data Collection training organized by the Directorate of Policy, Planning and Information at the Kona Lodge in Freetown on Tuesday February 14, 2017, Dr. Samuel Kargbo reminded trainees that the country suffered a lot as a result of incredible data collection, pointing out that Sierra Leone is part of the global community that signed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and now the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for which credible and accurate data is an essential tool for the development of health indicators.
He informed his audience that participants were carefully selected through the Programmes and Directorates for people who were capable of delivering, adding that the survey is for people capable of moving to hard-to-reach areas with a view to producing the necessary results on the survey.
Dr. Kargbo re- emphasized the need for participants to take the survey with the seriousness it deserves and come up with a very reliable data that can be used for the planning of the country’s development.
He noted the crisis period of the Ebola epidemic which created an opportunity to improve the health system, as it poses a lot of challenges in building a resilient health system.
Dilating on the Post Ebola Recovery Strategy Dr. Kargbo spoke about the first 6 to 9 months plan meant to take us to zero and the 10-24 months Recovery Priorities to maintain the zero, improve maternal and child health, and building a resilient health system.
He implored participants to commit themselves in generating reliable data as they move on with the field work reminding them that poor data will undermine proper planning for the health sector, and commended WHO and Global Fund for their commitment and support towards the successful completion of the survey.
The WHO Technical Officer, Health System Strengthening, Dr. Adewale Akinjeji said the goal of the activity is for Data Collectors and Supervisors to be able to measures the progress made by Sierra Leone’s health system.
He reminded participants that they all have the collective responsibility to ensure that the data collected is of good quality, adding that there is a popular saying that “what you cannot measure, you cannot improve”.
Giving an overview of the survey, the Research and Publication Specialist, Eddie Foday said the Service Availability and Readiness Assessment (SARA) was conducted in Sierra Leone in 2014/15 but was interrupted by the Ebola.
The objective of the survey Mr. Foday said is to assess and monitor service readiness and capacity at district and health facility level, and to have a common understanding of the Service Availability and Readiness Assessment (SARA) by participants.
He dilated on the training procedures and the roles and responsibilities of the trainees during the survey and the development of a detailed timeframe and plan for the field implementation.
The Planning Specialist Mr. Alhassan Fouard Kanu underscored the importance of the training and its values to assess the facilities on the readiness to provide quality services.
He disclosed that the Directorate is conducting the first Service Availability and Readiness Assessment (SARA) since the Ebola outbreak to evaluate the status and degree of functionality of health facilities in providing high-level services for the people of Sierra Leone.
Mr. Kanu expressed optimism that what participants are going to acquire during the ten day training will help and guide the Directorate to plan better.