Sierra Leone’s Health and Sanitation Minister Hon. Zainab Hawah Bangura has stated in the United States of America of how the ruling APC-led Government of President Ernest Koroma has taken steps, since it assumed power in 2007, which have resulted in an increase of over 500% in access to health care for the citizens. She was speaking on arrival in USA together with her colleague Energy & Water Resources Minister Hon. Oluniyi Robin this Wednesday April 18th to show case the West African Country’s progress in the area of Health, Sanitation, Energy and Water Resources, during a two day high level meeting of Water and Sanitation in Washington DC.
According to Hon. Zainab Hawah Bangura, “we are here to hold several meetings with our colleagues in the under- developed, developing and developed countries and partners to enable us look at the problems of Health and sanitation in Africa and the World and identify areas of intervention.
“In our own case, we will explore ways to see how our partners can increase their support into the Water and Sanitation area, improve support for free Health Care for under-fives and lactating mothers that was introduced in Sierra Leone by President Ernest Bai Koroma and also by extension support Government quality health delivery program”.
Hon further mentioned, the Ernest Bai Koroma led Government has invested a lot of money on the free Health care program; and we are making progress.
“It is important to note that our partners are cooperating fully. The present death toll resulting from the Maternal and Child Health is far less. Comparatively, accessibility to health care in Sierra Leone has been improved by over five hundred percent. So we are assiduously working on the provision of quality health care in order to be able to make sure we are at par with the Millennium Development Goal” she said.
“As a matter of fact, Government has already informed the people about its intention to provide free malaria treatment to all Sierra Leoneans before the end of the year. To make mention of free drugs and health care being administered to patients infected with Tuberculosis, Leprosy, HIV & Aids and Lactating Mothers and Under-fives need not be over emphasized “ she continued.
In his own response, the Energy and Water Resources Minister Hon. Oluniyi Robin – Coker said, he is in the United States for the same reason with Hon. Minister of Health, in so far as water resources are concerned. He said Water and sanitation go hand-in-hand with human dignity.
Quoting Jamal Saghir, World Bank Director for Sustainable Development in the Africa Region, Hon. Robin- Coker said “World bank study finds that the heaviest burden of poor sanitation falls on poor people. These findings make an irresistible case for greater investment in sanitation while removing the barriers to better sanitation services. Now is the time to tackle this urgent development priority once and for all.”
The Hon. Minister said most of the deadly diseases in the world are caused by contaminated water. In our own case, a lot of improvement has been made in the area of water supply, but like many other structures that suffered destruction during the war – the water sector was seriously affected by the war.
So I will therefor take this opportunity to meet with quite a lot of organizations including UNICEF, OXFAM and other new entities that we have not engaged.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.