The World Bank has boosted the Sierra Leone Health Sector with the sum of US$45.5million to support two new projects: Health Service Delivery and System support and strengthening of national and regional cross-sectoral capacity for collaborative disease surveillance and epidemic preparedness which was signed on the 23rd and 28 June respectively.

Abu Bakarr Fofanah

Explaining the project to journalists at their Howe Street Office last Wednesday, the World Bank Country Manager, Mr. Parminder P. S Brar said the approved sum for the first signed project is US$15.5 million for building the Sierra Leone health system.

“We want to work through the Ministry of Health and through government institutions. We want to support the health system right from the grass root level explaining that the project will support 5,000 Community Health Worker who had never been paid in the past. We want to provide financial and non-financial incentives for them.”

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“We want to support training at government training institutions and we want to bring in foreign medical team who will work side by side with government staff to strengthen the training and they also want to support the ministry for rolling out the National Ambulance Service across the whole of Sierra Leone, under this we will have a National Ambulance Service across the country” he said.

Mr. Brar said the other project which was approved is a US$30 million for disease surveillance. “We want to make sure that anything like ebola does not happen again in West Africa. A lot of focus on human health and there has not been adequate focus on animal health. Sierra Leone has only one veterinary specialist so the plan is to strengthen the disease surveillance and strengthen the system of veterinary specialist in Sierra Leone so that diseases that are transmitted from animal to human can be detected and control early because nobody want to see ebola again either in Sierra Leone or West Africa”.

Speaking at the programme, the Minister of Health and Sanitation Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah said among other thing that the projects has been carefully thought through by both the Bank and the Ministry to feed into the President’s two priority areas for the post Ebola Recovery.
He said the projects are a resilient health system that is able to prevent, detect and respond to health emergencies and a drastic reduction in maternal and child death.

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He thanked the Management and Board of the World Bank stating that the involvement of the Bank in the development of Sierra Leone spans years back disclosing that the whole period is characterised by mutual respect for the core values of each institution.

Highlighting some of the key contributions of the Bank to the social and economic development of the country with a focus on the Health Sector the past years, Mr. Fofanah said when the ebola struck, the bank was flexible and quick to programme funds to support explaining that out of their support, the Ministry was able to design a number of projects including the District Capacity Strengthening Project, the Postgraduate Training Project among others.