Stop Undermining Free Healthcare CMO Warns
Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Brima Kargbo has issued a strong warning for health workers to stop undermining the Free Healthcare (FHC) initiative that was introduced by President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma in 2010 to continue saving lives of our pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under-fives. (Photo: CMO, Dr. Brima Kargbo floanked by members of the Civil Society)
Dr. Kargbo issued the stern warning last Saturday at the just co0ncluded 2018 bilateral budget discussion when he was responding to concerns raised by members of the civil society on how nurses levy exorbitant charges on patients who are the supposed FHC beneficiaries.
CMO disclosed that they have been engaging health workers on several occasion to stop asking FHC beneficiaries to pay for medical attention but most of them are not listening or taking heed. He pointed out that the issue of selling FHC drugs cannot be unconnected to voluntary workers adding that the number of health workers in the country is about nine thousand.
According to CMO, since the number of health staff in the country is minimal, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) is targeting to increase the number of staff. Dr. Brima Kargbo told participants that MOHS is not working in isolation but in connection with non-state actors to implement certain programs and he encouraged young students in the medical field to study pathology course because he said, the only Government Pathologist in the country, Dr. Owizz Koroma will soon retire as he is advancing in age.
The CMO added that the Maternity Death Surveillance Report (MDSR) shows that majority women are now making use of health facilities nationwide.
However, members of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) raised concern that women are still dying in the process of giving birth whilst they said our babies are also dying below five years and maintained that some health facilities are existing without sufficient quality staff.
The issue of regulating the sales of counterfeit or fake drugs also came up and the manner in which nurses are neglecting FHC beneficiaries just to undermine the process was also highlighted.
They said most of the deaths that are occurring in community level among pregnant women is as a result of Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs). Members of CSO are therefore encouraged pregnant women to go the nearest health facilities to deliver their babies in a safe environment.
By Alhassan Bangura
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