The Commonwealth Secretariat arrived in Sierra Leone March 8 to work with the government to enhance its public health protection policy, particularly in the context of achieving universal health coverage, which would guarantee every citizen access to health services.
“It is our priority to continue to support Sierra Leone as it emerges from one of the worst pandemics in modern times,” said Dr Nurse.
"We have to focus not only on the critical recovery of the country, but also on doing everything in our power to avoid a situation where a lack of basics, such as early detection and containment processes, laboratories, hospitals, medical equipment and doctors and nurses, prevent it from reining in a deadly disease."
The initiative includes a series of workshops for policy makers with health experts and piloting a health policy toolkit developed in partnership with Public Health Wales and the UK’s Department of Health.
The project will build on the Commonwealth’s ongoing support to the country, which includes the deployment of an expert to the Ministry of Health to help develop outbreak containment strategies. These include tools to detect early warning signs and prevent infectious diseases from spreading rapidly.
Dr Nurse said the Commonwealth Secretariat will examine a wide range of factors that affect health services. “Climate change, environmental risks, education opportunities and a country’s economy all impact the effectiveness of health systems. Our aim is to have a very holistic approach to addressing the health challenges in Sierra Leone and to learn lessons from the Ebola pandemic,” she said.
" Over the course of the next week we will be working with the country’s Ministries of Health, Finance, Development and Education to develop a robust health protection policy that can deal with emergencies, and a long term strategy to deliver quality health services to every citizen."