“Sierra Leone Govt. hospitals to offer free Malaria diagnosis, treatment & drugs” Health Minister Bangura
The President Ernest Bai Koroma led Government is currently seeking support to capacitate its 1,199 hospital facilities throughout Sierra Leone, to enable it provide free Malaria diagnosis and non – complicated malaria treatment, coupled with free drugs, said Minister of Health and Sanitation, Hon. Haja Zainab Hawa Bangura. Adding, “The pilot program will start May 1st, 2012”.
According to her, “malaria accounts for 40% of the country’s out-patient reported cases. “It has also been proven to be the cause of death for 35% of the total number of deaths of children under the age of five. “Malaria is also wreaking havoc on the work force of the country; but if it is combated, it will considerably reduce the length of time spent in hospitals and dramatically reduce economic burden on patients infected with the menace.”
The Hon. Minister said the Government is presently upgrading some health care facilities through the provision of laboratories, operating theatre and other facilities that will enable medicos to do a thorough diagnosis of other infections. Hon Zainab Hawa Bangura said government is also providing solar energy for hospitals, where electricity is lacking.
“With funds from the African Development Bank (ADB), Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and other development partners, we will soon complete the construction of more than 30 health facilities in Southern Bo and Bonth Districts, Port Loko and Tonkolili Districts in the North and Eastern Kenema District.
The Hon Minister said the United States Presidential fund for HIV /AIDS (PEPFAR) which provided $500,000 for the state of the art Lakka hospital laboratory in Sierra Leone, has also indicated that it will support the construction and equipping of more laboratories as extensions of existing hospitals.
“The Chinese Government and Global fund have already supplied the Sierra Leone Government with some consignments of anti – Malaria drugs.
“Officials of Global Health Coalition at the United States of America – Department of States, deputy director of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and some friends from Morocco have made very strong commitments that will significantly help boost the health sector of the West African Country.” Said the Minister. Adding, “The free non-complicated anti-malaria treatment and drugs does not intend in any way to sabotage any privately own business.
“The Ministry of Health and Sanitation is merely implementing plans of the President Ernest Bai Koroma led Government( National Health Strategic plan), thus making it imperative on the part of Government to provide accessible ,affordable quality drugs through health care services for every Sierra Leonean.
“Presently, my ministry is working in combination with the Sierra Leone Police and some Civil Society organizations to prevent any form of pilfering of drugs taking place.” said Hon. Mrs. Bangura.
On April 27, 2010, President Ernest Bai Koroma launched its new health care initiative — free health care for pregnant women, new mothers, and young children in Sierra Leone.
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