Minister of Health and sanitation, Miatta Kargo, has successfully earned the confidence of GAVI; which the latter showed by way of giving more support to her administration under the auspices of President Ernest Bai Koroma, with a further allocation of $5.4 million to boost the activities of the MoHS in Sierra Leone.
A press release from the MoHS over the weekend states that the Global Alliance for Vaccine Immunization (GAVI) has approved additional funds of 5.4 million United States Dollars (US$5.4 million to boost part of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation priority programmes.
This was disclosed during a meeting with the visiting GAVI Mission including Directors, the Ministers and other senior officials at the Ministry’s Conference Hall at Youyi Building in Freetown.
The additional funding came as a result of the Health and Sanitation Minister, Miatta Kargbo’s negotiation at the recent World Health Assembly held in Geneva where she presented the current status of the country’s health care delivery systems and numerous challenges faced.
It would be recalled that the Ministry had earlier submitted US$3.5 million dollars proposal to GAVI but the appeal by the Minister at the Geneva meeting for a second chance following the previous GAVI Report on Sierra Leone moved the institution to release more funds on the basis of the success report on the Minister’s few months in office.
Addressing the meeting, GAVI Senior Programme Manager, Country Programmes and Head of the Visiting Team, Par Erikson expressed satisfaction over the current progress seen in the work of the Ministry and the move by the Minister for the setting up of an integrated Health Project Implementation Unit (IHPIU) expected to commence full operations effective July 1, 2013.
Mr. Erikson noted that the Terms of Reference and potentials of the IHPIU would be very much appreciative for donor support, adding that they would make sure that the unit becomes a viable institution for the benefit of the country.
He told his audience that they came as a team to have firsthand knowledge on the current situation on the ground, and expressed their desire to engage the Ministry in a more positive direction by being part of its work on issues relevant to the growth and development of the country’s health care system. “We are willing to assist beyond immunization and to look at transportation and other priority areas”, Mr. Erikson said.
Making his statement, GAVI Senior Financial Specialist, Jean Charles Amon Kra, said their mission is not just to audit but to assist with health system strengthening beyond immunization by way of equipping infrastructures and building human resource capacity through training Programmes.
Health and Sanitation Minister, Miatta Kargbo told the visiting team that they would continue to redefine themselves as a change Ministry on the basis of transparency, accountability and good governance.
She reiterated the success story from the two meeting held in Geneva, pointing out that even though government is yet committed to the ongoing ACC matter in court, GAVI has consented and agreed to release funds to support more programmes.
Madam Kargbo outlined infrastructural development, training, and the establishment of the IHPI Unit as a priority in meeting the challenges ahead noting the brain in the medical profession, standard equipment and the manpower in health facilities to deliver quality health care services in the country, disclosing plans to making Connaught Hospital a center for excellence.
She disclosed an ongoing plan to establish a Paramedical school in Makeni with a view to executing a Task Shifting program for Community Health Officers (CHOs) to be able to handle minor surgeries in their various health facilities.
The Minister commended her team and courage them to continue the good work.
The visiting team earlier paid a courtesy call on the Ministry in her Youyi Building office in Freetown.
The GAVI Mission during a debriefing on Friday June 21, 2013 made some key recommendations that would bring them as a catalyst in working jointly with the Ministry of Health and Health Development partners for the successful implementation of the integrated Health Project Administration Unit (IHPAU)
The Financial Specialist, GAVI’s Transparency and Accountability Policy (TAP) department, Mr. Jean Charles Amon Kra reiterated GAVI’s support to the design and implementation of the Integrated Health Projects Administration Unit (IHPAU) and the expected contributions from development partners by July 15, 2013.
Among the key recommendations, the Transparency and Accountability Policy (TAP) Team identified resourceful leadership and detailed Map of IHPAU implementation, the need for a steering Committee to be headed by the Minister with the composition of Donors and Health Development partners, a Recruitment Panel with UN Agencies for the purpose of transparency, and contributions expected from the government and Health Development partners. Staff training was also recommended as key human resource development intervention for the first years with the expected commitment.
Other key issues highlighted include salary scheme for staff of IHPAU based on the Civil Service Reform Scheme, operating cost, GAVI’s assistance, and the critical requirement that demands legal frame work.
“We have seen significant progress during the first week of our assessment,” said Kra.