President Koroma visits Cottage, Connaught for April 27 health care delivery plan
Senior medical doctors, lab technicians, pharmacists, midwives and nurses of Princess Christianne Maternity Hospital (PCMH – Â commonly known as Cottage) and Connaught Hospital today gave assurances to President Koroma that they are ready for the implementation of the governmentâ€™s April 27 commencement of free health care delivery for pregnant women, lactating mothers, and children under five years.
In snap visit to the two government hospitals, one in the east another in central Freetown, the President entered various wards, inspecting facilities, parleying with patients, and interviewing medical personnel.
Among issues discovered by the Presidentâ€™s tour were that, virtually all drugs needed for the programme to kick off will be in the country before April 27; the need to sensitize pregnant women to make early visits to hospitals; the need to sensitize the general populace on the importance of donating blood to hospitals; the need to urge lactating mothers to exclusively breast-feed their children for at least the first six months; and the total assurance that starting from 27th April (Independence Day), no pregnant woman or lactating mother or child under five will pay or be paid for for whatever service rendered or medication administered to them in these hospitals.
The Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kizito Dao, assured that he has been constantly working with government officials and representatives of UNFPA, WHO, UNICEF and other partners to meet the April 27 deadline.
The need to involve civil society in the sensitization process was also underlined, and perhaps the need to motivate blood donors. The need for the availability of high-standard equipment and the training of more personnel or personnel having more training was also highlighted.
At various instances in both Cottage and Connaught, President Koroma hobnobbed and chatted with cheerful nurses and doctors who just yesterday were on a long-drawn strike on the emolument package accompanying the April 27 benevolence but returned to work today on a presidential ultimatum backed by negotiations.
Thereafter, accompanied by Vice President Sam Sumana and Labour Minister Minkhailu Mansaray, among others, the President visited and inspected the Medical Stores at New England, Freetown, where he was also assured by both contractors and medical officers that all necessary infrastructure will be put in place for the adequate and appropriate storage of drugs and other medical accouterments before 27th April.
This week the President is scheduled to make a blitzkrieg tour of the whole country, visiting and inspecting medical facilities and cross-checking their readiness for the April 27 deadline for the free delivery of medical services to children under five, lactating mothers and pregnant women.
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