Makali, Kunike Barina Chiefdom, Tonkolili District, Saturday 19 January 2019 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has officially opened the newly constructed community health centre in Makali, Kunike Barina Chiefdom, Tonkolili District, Northern Sierra Leone.
The project, which was funded by the UK’s Department for International Development, DfID, also included the rehabilitation of staff quarters.
DfID’s Representative, Sandra Baldwin, said the new facility was part of their continued support to the health sector in the country. She added that the facility would contribute to the provision of high quality health services and safe delivery in the country as well as improve on the health condition within communities.
She said DfID and other partners had seen progress being made by the new government in all sectors, especially the health sector for which they trust the government and would continue to support the President in his vision to better the lives of Sierra Leoneans.
“We are supporting 230 WASH facilities in Peripheral Health Units across the country and also training 4,000 health workers. We are also supporting the distribution of essential drugs for the free healthcare programme,” she said.
The Family Planning and Sexual Reproductive Health Technical Specialist, acting as officer-in-charge for the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, UNFPA, Dr Abiodun Chris Oyeyipo, said that the Makali Community Health Centre, CHC, was serving a population of 7,150 people and providing 24 hours services on a daily basis. He added that the aim of the intervention in the facility was to elevate the quality of care to the required standards, with a view of positioning it for the provision of quality Maternal, Newborn and Child Health services and focusing on basic emergency obstetric and newborn care.
The UNFPA rep reiterated that they would continue to provide technical, financial and logistical support to ensure reproductive health commodity security in Sierra Leone, saying that that was a cause for which they had invested over USD 2.9 million for contraceptive procurement in 2017 and over USD 1.9 million already in 2018.
“Your Excellency, we urge the Ministry of health and Sanitation to ensure the posting of adequate skilled health manpower to this facility so that the investment will not be in vain. I also urge the community of Makali, especially our women and young people, to avail themselves of the use of this beautifully refurbished facility for the improvement of the health status of the community and especially women and young people,” he urged.
Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr Alpha Wurie, said that he was delighted that the completion of the facility would improve the health conditions in that part of the country. He added that the government was committed to improving the conditions of service for health workers, disclosing that the government would provide allowances to health workers that would enable them perform their duties effectively.
He maintained that government was ready to provide quality healthcare facilities for its citizens, by providing basic healthcare facilities to every chiefdom across the country. He said the presence of the President at the opening ceremony was a manifestation of his commitment to providing inclusive development to every parts of the country.
In his address, President Bio expressed his appreciation to the development partners, especially DfID, for helping to improve the healthcare services in the country. He said quality healthcare was an essential component of his government’s key priority of human capital development. He emphasised that human capital development was about taking care of the health, providing food for the stomach and providing quality education for the brain.
“We have started with education and we are now working better to improve the healthcare in the country because quality education will not mean much without quality healthcare services. As a government, we are making our own efforts to better the lives of our citizens,” he assured.
He stated that the new facility was for the community and that they should take ownership of it by ensuring that the hospital and drugs were used for their intended purposes. He noted that with the new facility, patients would no longer need to travel far distance in search for medical care.