The Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, Sheku Tejan Koroma yesterday told members of the Sierra Leone Dental and Medical Association that his Ministry was working on health insurance for every worker in Sierra Leone.
The Minister, who was delivering a key note address at the British Council on the occasion of the 34th Annual Conference of the Sierra Leone Dental and Medical Association, noted that one of the strategies in addressing occupational health issue is to initiate a health insurance policy in order to motivate workers.
On assuming office last year he said, they inherited a lot of problems ranging from low capacity to low remuneration, which he said has now been improved on.
He stated that occupational health is the promotion of social and mental wellbeing of people in all categories of life; adding that occupational hazards are mostly caused by noise and other dangerous expositions at places of work.
Talking on the abuse of drugs in the Country, the Minister noted that, the abuse of drugs accounted for most of the problems in Sierra Leone, as it plays a major role in igniting social problems, violence and child abuse.
Commending members of the Sierra Leone Medical and Dental Association, the Minister predicted that in the nearby future his Ministry would work together with all stakeholders to address the issue of drug abuse in the country.
The President of the Sierra Leone Medical Association, Dr. Amara Jambai said as part of their bench mark, they have successfully integrated and mainstreamed young colleagues into the affairs of the association.
The outcome of the Makeni meeting, he said, is a manifestation of their dedication in closing the gap between the different generations; and hence improve on services to the people. “The future with regard medical is in the hands of the young colleagues” he said. “Let’s make them neurosurgeons, cardiothoracic surgeons, pediatricians, radiologists and gynecologists” he added. The Theme for this year ‘Occupational Health’ the President observed, highlights the needs of the poorly understood and under staffed areas of our health care delivery. The low awareness of decision-makers of the importance and benefit of occupational health has given it low priority by even international organizations like WHO and ILO. He maintained that, drug abuse is a big burden to the society as it overall cost includes: health and crime-related cost as well as losses in productivities. He lauded the resilience shown by the current membership which indicates that they would overcome future challenges. UNICEF Chief Child Survival and Development Officer, Dr. Rumishael Shoo, observed that the existence of such a body in Sierra Leone is a testimony to the fact that despite the hard times, there are groups of people in this Country dedicated to serving Sierra Leoneans in all walks of life. He explained that most women deliver outside the health system by traditional birth attendants or volunteers for primarily two reasons.
By Solomon Rogers