By: Kebba AF Touray
The National Assembly Select Committee on Health, as part of their nationwide tour of the health facilities, engaged the Ministry of Health to make presentation on the national health policy, strategic plans and detail report on the status of the public health delivery system countrywide.
Presenting the policy document, Mr. Cherno Omar Barry, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, highlighted the training of health staff on Field Epidemiology to strengthen disease surveillance, sentinel surveillance for HIV/AIDS, scaling up of TB treatment centers on seasonal basis, tabling the Disability Bill at Parliament, continuing to strengthen health service delivery at all levels, construction of incinerators and to ensure proper clinical waste management in health facilities as the Ministry’s strengthening health management information system.
He underlined that the implementation of social and behavioural change, communication and community mobilization strategies, community active screening for malnutrition and implementation of the national tobacco control Act among others, as his Ministry’s ongoing activities.
P S Barry explained that safeguarding the welfare of the poorest and most vulnerable population, reduction of people’s exposure to social risks, promote the livelihoods and incomes of the poorest active population, are the Ministry’s priority policy areas.
He lamented high vaccine coverage, high standard of medical care (diagnosis/treatment) and available drugs and consumables, as sustain achievements registered in treating communicable diseases.
He however pointed out the high attrition rate of Nurses and Doctors, inadequate basic equipment, insufficient drug supply and inadequate space for staff, as the daunting challenges facing the Ministry.
He concluded by stating that the delivery of health care is expensive and called on all to support the Ministry in its bid to deliver quality health care service to all in the country.
Hon. NdeyYassin Secka, a nominated member and also a member of the Committee, in her interventions, called for prioritization and implementation of each departments’ activities in order to move the country forward.
Hon. Saikou Marong, member for Latrikunda, called for attitudinal change both in the health and public sectors, to be able to address some of the challenges facing the health ministry.
Speaking earlier on the session, the Chairman of the NA Select Committee on Health, Hon. Ousman Sillah, member for Banjul North, said the session was an oversight one and that their role is to ensure that the services assigned to the Ministry are implemented with optimal impact on those they are intended for.
Hon. Sillah assured the Ministry of his committee’s commitment and utmost efforts in ensuring that the needs of the Ministry are highlighted during National Assembly proceedings.
He called on the Ministry to provide reports on its documents among them, the medical and dental council, pharmacy council and the health account, adding these will help them to better express their challenges. He also called for collaboration between the Ministry and his Committee in addressing the Ministry’s needs.
Other officials of the Ministry who spoke during the session called for prioritization of the health Ministry saying health is everybody’s responsibility and business.