Dr Brima Kargbo has been appointed director of the National AIDS Secretariat, (NAS), about two years after being appointed acting director.
He said his appointment “is a continuation of the confidence which President [Tejan Kabbah] has in me”
Dr Kargbo pointed out that as a senior medical officer and a senior specialist in the country it was the right decision the president took to appoint him.
He said his immediate plans for the Secretariat were to continue to strengthen the decentralization of HIV and AIDS activities which they had started.
Dr Kargbo said, “the AIDS epidemic is raging in the country and we know that those also in the local communities should be very much aware of the mayhem and be involved in the fight of the disease”.
He sated that they were involving the local councils on this by providing them with Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCCT), and drugs to dispense to the local communities because “they are the closest to them so that everybody in the country gets access to the services NAS is providing”.
There are misunderstandings that since the Secretariat is in transition there will be a downsizing of the present staff of 80 personnel to 15.
When this question was put to the new director he replied: “No, we are not scaling down we are rightsizing the Secretariat.”
He explained that this was because of the decentralization drive the Secretariat would be embarking on.
Dr Kargbo explained further that, “we want to reduce the number of staff at the central level so that at least if we are having our regional offices some of these staff in the central office will occupy those offices… we call it right sizing.”
The director said, “there is a life span for every organization and when it is going into a new phase one has to look at strategies which will maximize efficiency in what we are trying to do.”
He added that the World Bank had been paying most of their staff and that the Bank’s project was a four-year one which should have ended in 2006 but that because they still had some resources left the World Bank decided to extend it to 2007.
He said that after 2007 the “World Bank is trying to support a three-year transitional strategy so government will fully take over”.
“Notwithstanding that, we have the Global Fund which also supports us, so some of the staff and 31 counselors who are very crucial in the fight against HIV and AIDS, will absorb them to pay their emoluments because they need their services as the World Bank will not be paying them”, Dr Kargbo informed.