Each chiefdom to have an ambulance President Koroma Says
The President has pronounced that the National Emergency Ambulance Services will ensure each chiefdom has at least an ambulance and advised all to use the ambulances for it intended purposes.
President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma made the pronouncement on Wednesday 21st February 2018 during the official launching of the National Emergency Ambulance Services at Lot C, Hastings Compound at Hastings village.
In his keynote address, President Koroma welcomed all Paramount Chiefs for what he described as an excellent attendant and emphasized on the devastating effect of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
He mentioned that he wanted to do the things he promised to accomplish before the March 7th 2018 national election and stated that, in 2002 he based his campaign to become President on the basis of change but lost to the late President Alhaji Ahmed Tejan Kabbah.
“That is why I used the same platform of change in 2007 and 2012”, said the President and mentioned that the Health Social Insurance Scheme which he said started since 2007 was recently premiered at the Bintumani Hotel Conference Centre.
He said the Free Healthcare Initiative has appeared to be the biggest program since the country attains independent to save pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under-fives from unnecessary deaths.
President Koroma lamented that the country was at the bottom of the Human Development Index because were limited in terms of resources and capacity and discussed that the FHC was launched after a study revealed that, the Free Health Care beneficiaries were dying than any other set of people in society.
He said the FHC is not only working effectively, saved lives of many intended beneficiaries but it also increased access for people to access health facilities adding that a nation cannot develop overnight but gradually.
President Koroma encouraged us as a nation to remain focus and continue to rebuild the system by improving on our delivery services and emphasized on the manner in which health facilities especially buildings and service providers and hospital equipment have increased considerably.
He maintained that the Health Social Insurance Scheme will bring sustainable increase coverage and disclosed that there was nothing to talk about in the health sector in 2007.
He recalled in one of his campaign trails for the Presidency in 2002 when he spotted an ailing woman was conveyed through hammock to the farthest health center in Koinadugu District because there was no ambulance adding that ailing men and women were dying on the way to hospital because the use of Okada was not conducive for the ill health especially in hard to reach areas.
“It is difficult to address all the issues highlighted above without good roads, electricity, water and other basic necessities”, asserted the President and recalled how nurses and doctors used a candle to perform a surgical operation in the dilapidated Kenema Government hospital before the introduction of FHC because there was no power supply.
“We continue to train doctors, nurses and Community Health Workers to improve on service delivery”, President Koroma averred and stressed that all the changes other politicians are preaching to the public are not applicable. He spoke about Government preparedness to construct a five hundred beds state of the art hospital and a warehouse for drugs.
He said the Centre for Disease Control has started from out of the experience we gain as a nation from Ebola adding that all diseases will be diagnosed and treated by the next five years. He echoed that the ambulance service is going to remove the use of Okada and hammock to carry sick people to health centers.
He recognized the important for traditional chiefs especially paramount Chiefs to not allow the ambulance service to collapse in their various chiefdoms through robust monitoring of nurses to give the required treatment to patients.
He disclosed that as a nation, we are now proud of having 450 trained ambulance drivers and over six hundred trained paramedics and supplement that about one thousand new jobs have been created through the national ambulance services.
He described the program as a big step to improve our health sector and commended the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and lined ministries for what he described as a great effort.
He ended by extending gratitude to development partners for taking the country where it is today through their robust support and he officially launched the National Ambulance Services.
In his statement, the Minister of Health and Sanitation (MOHS), Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah stated that when President Koroma took over governance in 2007, his first priority was to address the issue of high maternal and child death rate.
The minister mentioned that one hundred and sixty three ambulances would be deploy in all the 149 chiefdoms across the country and assured that the other 41 ambulances will be available in the country under Dr. Samura Kamara’s leadership.
Communities will benefit from the ambulances through the reduction of death rate and create employment for close to one thousand nurses adding that the service would also reduce maternal and child mortality, increase first aid treatment and increase access to health centres.
The Chief of Staff, Saidu Conton Sesay said everyone is aware of the challenge the EVD scourge imposed on us as a nation and recognized the effort made by the international community in the fight to end the EVD.
Other medical personalities including the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Brima Kargbo, CUAMM representative and other international partners advanced similar sentiments
By Abdulai Mento Kamara
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