Former Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr.Soccoh Kabia in interview with Awoko recently, disclosed some of the successes he made during his tenure in three ministries.
Apart from serving as Minister in the Health Ministry, he was also Marine Resources and Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs minister at different periods.
At the Ministry of Health, he explained “I worked directly with Government, so that we will address the issue of kidney disease in the country. To do that, one needs to have expertise and training. So, I went to other countries to help in terms of bringing dialysis machine to the country and it was on the pipeline before I left.”
‘We then embarked on the renovation of the facilities which we are now planning on using. Communicable Disease was what Sierra Leone has been looking at all the time, Malaria, TB and maternal mortality was also an issue. This was the focus and I supported it because they were important.
However, he went on, Non- Communicable Diseases like diabetics and heart diseases are also important and they need to be looked into, as they are increasing. In that light “ they need to be addressed and that was why I created the Directorate for Post Graduate training for Non-Communicable Disease, Medical Research and Mental Health and I was the first to start the Directorate on Mental Health.
The Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs, he said, “Was one of the most challenging Ministries that I worked in but I was able to play my part. During my time at the Ministry, we were able to work on over five laws, one of which was the Disability Act which is one of the best in Africa.”
“We also worked on the Revised Adoption Act, the Sexual Offences Bill, Gender Equity Bill which has the most powerful force because it is blend of Kenyan and South African model, and also the Adoption Act was revised.’
In the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Dr. Kabia maintained that the management and functional review of the whole ministry was done and there was a drastic cut down in terms of illegal fishing, as they became more vigilant and arrested some bunch of illegal vessels and also introduced the vessel monitory system.
He added that sub regionally they coordinated and spearheaded the effort to ensure that if a vessel commits an offence in one country, if arrested, it should be returned to the country where the offence was committed for justice.
As he has returned to work in his professional field, he decided to come back because ‘I saw the need to come back and work for my people. I aimed at raising awareness on kidney disease, so that every professional medical Practitioner and Sierra Leonean can get involved in the process to ensure that we address this problem and start doing what others have done in their country. We don’t need to ignore it because if we do, it will not go away but rather kill more people.”
Questioned about the development in the health sector, Dr. Soccoh Kabia stated that “in some ways it has moved and it has not moved in some other areas. There are a lot of things that are available like the Free Health Care that has been put in place but we have to ensure that it is really effective by providing the drugs and facilities. Even if they are free but without the proper drugs, then it will not serve the right purpose and will not benefit the targeted beneficiaries.”
“We also need Intensive Care Unit that is functioning, as it is not available in the country. As for the common illnesses, every practitioner will do but the ICU which is the area that saves life we don’t have, we need Dialysis, training for all the doctors in the country. Most of the practitioners are good and hardworking but they are confronted with the challenge of availability of proper system and equipment.”
Despite all the work he has been doing for almost four years now, there has been a challenge even though he is happy to return, the Ministry of Health has not signed his contract as they have refused to do so claiming is a bureaucracy.
Friday July 18, 2014