District health workers rally behind free healthcare
About 1,500 nurses and health workers from across the country showed their support for free healthcare for pregnant and lactating women and children under five in Government health facilities over the weekend (9-12 April) when they welcomed senior officials from the Directorate of Nursing. (Photo: Mabel Carew, Chief Nursing Officer with newborn in Kaliahun)
At each of the meetings, health workers cheered as they were informed of their general salary increase and celebrated the huge steps being taken to improve health care services and their working conditions with a rendition of ‘things are turning around’.
They ended each meeting with chants of ‘we can make a difference’ as they firmly put their support behind the governmentâ€™s initiative to reduce maternal and child mortality in the country.
The officials included Mabel Carew, Chief Nursing Officer at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, and Madonna Hill, President of the Sierra Leone Nurses Association, and Elizabeth Decker, of the President Sierra Leone Midwives Association. They toured the country to speak directly to health workers about the forthcoming health care changes. Its purpose was to inform staff about the launch of free healthcare for pregnant and lactating women and children under five and address their concerns.
Chief Nursing officer at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Mabel Carew, said: â€œEvery single health worker in Sierra Leone is absolutely vital to the successful implementation of free health services so it was extremely important we meet with them face to face to discuss the changes and address their concerns.
â€œI was delighted to leave each meeting knowing that each and every nurse is as committed as the government and its partners to delivering free health care into the future. And in return we are committed to ensuring our staff receive the right training and professional development and improved working conditions to help them deliver the health care Sierra Leoneans deserve.â€
The tour by the Directorate of Nursing took in each of the 12 districts outside of the Western Area over five days. Each district also received a number of nurseâ€™s uniforms donated by Aid for Hospitals in the UK.
Free Health Care is a directive from the President and has huge support from both government and development partners. From 27 April 2010, all treatment and medicines for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under 5 will be provided free of charge in all government health facilities.
Officials on the tour were split into two groups.
Group 1Elizabeth Decker, President Sierra Leone Midwives Association Hannah Varacel, Registrar Sierra Leone Nurses & Midwives Board Madonna Hill, President of the Sierra Leone Nurses Association Hassan Kamara, Representative for Civil Society
Group 2Mabel Carew, Chief Nursing Officer MoHS Isha Kabia, Representative from Friends of PCMH Pity Kanu, Regional Supervisor RCH Division MoHS Moses Mambu, Representative for Civil Society
By Stephanie Malyon
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