The Sierra Leone Board of Nursing in collaboration with the national health care for all coalition have ended a sensitization tour of the health facilities in the eastern region days after the head of state His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma himself visited the region to look at the available health facilities before the launching of the free medical care designed for pregnant women, lactating mothers and under fives on the 27th April 2010.
The team also held a one day sensitization meeting with all health workers in the Kenema District at the Government Hospital campus in Kenema City.
In his welcome address the District Medical Officer (DMO) Kenema District Dr.
Jibao Sandi thanked the nurses for their turnout which he said is a positive indication of the importance health workers attach to the free health programme that is about to be launched. Dr. Sandi called on health workers who are in the habit of taking money from their patients to refrain forthwith in order to avoid the full penalty of the law adding that they will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the free health programme succeeds. In her statement the chairperson for the health committee in the Kenema District Council Fatmata Dassama pledged the Council’s fullest support for the programme adding that the Council is responsible for the development of the District.
The Matron at the Government Hospital in Kenema Mrs. Alice Stevens revealed that the maternity ward and the children’s ward at the hospital is now full prior to the launching of the free medical service as the sensitization continues in the region. She requested the visiting team to remind the President about the promise he made to send more beds and other materials before the programme starts.
In her statement the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) in Sierra Leone Mabel Carew thanked health workers whom she said have sacrificed their lives, time and energy to provide medication for the vulnerable throughout the country even though they know there is danger. Madam Carew said surveys have revealed that patients over the years are in the habit of avoiding the government owned medical facilities because of the high cost they are exposed to when they experience complications. She said the free health delivery campaign when launched on the 27th April this year is not only limited to the administration of treatment to patient and she cautioned that even their attitude towards patients is not too good and therefore appealed to them to be committed in their work. She revealed that it is the government that announced the increment in the salary of nurses and called on the nurses to be ready for the sacrifice by adding more effort to their work by working round the clock to save Sierra Leone from the bottom of the human development index. The CNO said during their tour of the region she discovered that some health nurses are in the habit of leaving their stations for reasons best known to them an act she described as unfortunate. She warned all to desist from such habit.