The SARA report provides essential information on service accessibility and readiness of facilities to provide adequate level of service, for both general and specialized health services and interventions; assessing the equitable and appropriate distribution of services and resources.
According to Dr. Mame Awa Toure, ICAP’s Country Director, ICAP collaborated with the MoHS to conduct a rapid situational analysis aimed at identifying barriers and enablers of data use for decision-making at national, district and health facility levels.
The findings from the situational analysis indicated that the culture of data use in the health sector was generically low, particularly in making policy-related decisions.
“These results have informed ICAP’s capacity building and training strategy to support data use for decision-making,” Dr. Toure remarked and added that it is against this background that ICAP with funding from CDC is collaborating with the Health Ministry to launch the SARA report and take a deep dive on the SARA results whilst building capacity on various analytical tools available for diagnosing critical health challenges for action.
“ICAP hopes that by going through this process participants will be equipped to replicate similar methods and tools in identifying challenges and finding solutions in their everyday work,” she said.
The World Health Organization’s Country Representative, Dr. Alex Chimbaru said the 2017 Sierra Leone SARA report has a component of data quality which is a novelty. He described SARA as a comprehensive approach that helps to monitor progress in healthcare delivery performance.
The report, Dr. Chimbaru said will help monitor universal coverage in the health sector. He called for improvement in the health sector and advised that SARA be held on an annual basis. “We should utilize the SARA report for the benefit of the country,” he noted.
Dr. Tushar Singh, Country Director of CDC stated that they are happy to be working with the government to put together quality data and ensure proper data management. He called for the need to put high quality data into action. “SARA helps us to identify risk factors and future trends. We should use data to ensure collective action for improved health outcomes,” he advised.
Minister of Health, Dr. Alpha Tejan Wurie said the government is happy to have such a report, which serves as a guide in managing the health sector. “It will help us to get things right in the health sector”.
The minister further said that even though some of its recommendations have been implemented, his ministry will do its best to ensure effective service delivery and good decision-making in the health systems.
Towards the closing of the launch, the MoHS and ICAP presented the major findings from the SARA report, overview of data used for decision-making and problem prioritization matrix. Following the presentation, participants took part in group work exercise, using the problem prioritization matrix to prioritize gaps/problems identified by SARA.
The event was held at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown on the 16th and 17th April 2019, and was attended by key stakeholders from the district and national levels. It provided a unique opportunity to launch the SARA report, and also to strengthen the capacity of managers and senior MoHS and District Council staffs on using data to make strategic decisions.