Minister of Health Dr Soccoh Kabia has told journalists that “the country has only 78 medical doctors for a population of 5.3million people.”
The Minister was explaining to the journalists at his Youyi Building office about the constraints and appalling conditions in the health sector, affirming that “the health status in the country is not good.”
He stated that the immediate initial assessment he undertook when he took over the ministry proved that the sector faces serious challenges.
The figure of 78 doctors for the entire population of 5.3 million Sierra Leoneans works out to a ratio of one doctor to nearly 68 thousand (67,948) people in the country.
He stated that out of the 78 medical doctors, the country has 7 gynecologists, 8 surgeons, 5 pediatricians, 4 dentists and 1 psychologist with not enough midwives and nurses.
He likened the challenge his ministry faces to that of the war; the constraints in human resources, and infrastructure – as the government hospitals from tertiary ones to that of the health care units are not at par with what obtains in other countries, noting that the infant and maternal mortality rate was still high in the country.
The Minister pointed out that health care delivery had serious implications on the socio- economic development of the country which is directly linked to the human development index. He attributed the poor health conditions in the country to the poor conditions of service as the hospitals do not get the right equipments, lack of human resource, poor infrastructure and insufficient or lack of water supply and electricity in the hospitals. Dr Kabia promised to tackle the Child and reproductive area and issues of basic services.
He proposed the establishment of a public health commission that will look in to the salaries of health workers, their capacity building and the bringing on board of the right people in to positions and also of the provision of training for health workers.