President Ernest Bai Koroma has declared that the honeymoon for criminality in the Free Health Care (FHC) initiative is over. Addressing Stakeholders, including Development Partners, Civil Society, Government Ministers, State and Security Officials, the Anti-Corruption Commission and Civil Society at State House today, he warned that everyone must be fully accountable and take responsibility for any wrong in the nationwide drug supply chain. In this regard, he stated the urgent need to engage the Judiciary in fast-tracking all cases associated with the FHC, as Government and its Partners embark on implementation of the agreed Action Plan for Clearing and Forwarding, Storage, Transportation, Delivery and other Logistics in the widely acclaimed flagship Health initiative. The State House meeting chaired by President Koroma, is a follow-up to the Health sector Stock-taking Consultations last week at which Stakeholders discussed the successes and challenges of the Free Health Care initiative.
Delivering the FHC Action Plan for 2010/2011, jointly prepared with UNICEF, Health Minister Haja Zainab Bangura disclosed that the leakages identified by UNICEF, amounted to 6% after review and not the 25% in its earlier draft only confirmed her earlier findings due to weaknesses in the system and criminality. These weaknesses currently being addressed by the Ministry of Health and its Partners cover physical and staff capacity, weak supervision, supply chain management and poor record keeping. The Plan, which incorporates the revised Distribution Strategy is a comprehensive and extensive system, involving cooperation and collaboration between Stakeholders at all levels of the distribution network, with specific responsibilities to reduce or eliminate criminality. After wide-ranging discussions of the Action Plan and amendments, including the need for Training, continuous monitoring of Drugs and Service Delivery, with Civil Society and Community involvement, as well as the need for performance-based Staff incentives and additional Technical Staff, Stakeholders recommended its immediate implementation for the 2011 Free Health Care Drugs already in the country.
President Koroma promised Government support in implementing the Action Plan and urged all Stakeholders and Partners to go into action for a full and successful implementation as the people are already used to the massive benefits provided by the unique Health initiative.
Submitted by State House Press Team
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