Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – In a momentous development within Sierra Leone’s healthcare landscape, the nation is on the verge of establishing its inaugural national Public Health Agency, marking a pivotal step forward in the country’s healthcare sector.
The announcement was unveiled at the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) on Wilkinson Road in Freetown, during a significant disclosure on Monday, November 11th, 2023. The anticipated launch of the Agency is scheduled for December 14th, 2023.
Professor Foday Sahr hailed President Bio’s initiative as a momentous investment in Sierra Leone’s public health. He remarked that the impending establishment of the Public Health Agency signifies a beacon of hope for the delivery of healthcare services across the country.
Highlighting its pivotal role, Professor Sahr outlined that the Agency’s primary function would encompass coordinating public health activities and swiftly responding to any emerging health issues within Sierra Leone. Additionally, he emphasized that the agency would fortify the nation’s healthcare system, conduct training for healthcare practitioners, and embark on crucial public health research initiatives.
Expressing optimism, Professor Sahr anticipated that the agency’s endeavors would significantly enhance public health outcomes, fortify the country’s public health infrastructure, and safeguard the welfare of Sierra Leoneans. He further revealed that the agency’s launch would coincide with the unveiling of three strategic plans, outlining crucial areas of growth, including management and operation, public health surveillance, research, and emergency preparedness and response.
Asserting government commitment, he disclosed plans for a dedicated budget and international partnerships to support the agency. Dr. Vandy, discussing resource mobilization, highlighted the country’s Directorate of Health Emergency’s transformation into this public health agency. Regarding staffing, he confirmed the utilization of current personnel while preparing plans to train additional health practitioners.
Dr. Vandy and the Deputy Minister also emphasized plans to involve the private sector in funding the agency, showcasing a joint commitment from the government, development partners, and the private sector.
In a keynote address, Deputy Minister of Health 1, Dr. Charles Senesie, hailed the agency’s establishment as a dream realized, affirming the government’s dedication to its continual support. He emphasized the critical need for preparedness in the face of potential pandemics, stating that the agency would play a pivotal role in combating future health crises.
Dr. Daphne Moffett, Director of the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), expressed pride in partnering with the Ministry of Health, lauding the initiation of discussions that led to the agency’s establishment since 2014. Dr. Moffett expressed optimism, foreseeing fruitful collaborations and substantial outcomes arising from the agency’s establishment. SKS/12/12/2023