Former Irish President impressed with Sierra Leone health care implementation
The former President of Ireland and also former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mary Robinson has said in Freetown that she is very impressed towards the implementation of the free health care implementation in the country.
The former president who is now a key advocate to an organization she formed after serving the United Nations called Realizing Rights made a conducted tour at both the Ola During Children Hospital and the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital on Wednesday 28th July 2010 with a key focus to observe the free health care implementation. It could be recalled that Sierra Leone launched the free health care policy on the 27th of April this year.
The visit of Her Excellency Mary Robinson comprises of a conducted tour at the Grey Bush Health Clinic and the two hospitals with an entourage comprising the second Lady of Sierra Leone, Madam Kadija Sam Sumana, representatives of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and doctors and nurses of the two hospitals.
The President of the Realizing rights, Mary Robinson said “with the launch of its free health care initiative, Sierra Leone has taken a major step forward in promoting maternal health as a human right not only for its own people, but also globally as a model of leadership and initiative in this critical area”. Madam Robinson stated that she is very much impressed to see workable hospitals in Sierra Leone striving towards the free health care policy of the President of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Ernest Bai Koroma.
The former Ireland President and human rights advocate who also sees health as universal human right said she was glad to see vaccines and medication given to the patients that included children and women at the OLa During and PCM Hospitals in Sierra Leone.
The second lady of the republic of Sierra Leone, Madam Kadija Sam Sumana on behalf of the government of Sierra Leone pleaded to Her Excellency Mary Robinson to continued support to the health initiative in the country.
Sierra Leone’s recent launch of the free health care initiative for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under the age of five serves as a powerful example for the international community. In less than three months since the launch, the initiative has registered impressive increases in the number of women and children receiving services as well as improvements in the quality of maternity wards and other health facilities throughout the country.
The government of Sierra Leone’s initiative was supported by many outside donors and NGOs with both funding as well as providing key technical assistance in the management of the program.
One of the sponsors of the Excellency Mary Robinson’s visit is the Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health, a program of Realizing Rights. The Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health experience in the last two years in Sierra Leone has shown that support for country-led and country-driven initiatives can result in breakthroughs in key health care areas such as primary care for mothers and children. It also has found that as the government implements maternal health programs and policies, one important aspect is to place a focus on human rights which helps access to quality health services, child marriage, women’s rights within the household and nation, protection against violence, access to education, access to earning opportunities and access to family planning.
Realizing Rights was founded in October 2002 by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland (1990-1997) and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002). Their mission is to put human rights standards at the heart of global governance and policy-making and to ensure that the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable are addressed on the global stage.
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