Sierra Leone health and safety was in the news in July as ECOWAS countries commemorated West Africa Health Organisation Day.
Health workers discussed the contribution of mobile phones in managing epidemics at community level.
Speaking to the West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) Liaison Officer, Yayah Conteh, in Youyi Building in Freetown, the Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Health Services Workers Union (SLHSWU), Ansu Rashid Kallon, outlined some challenges in health work and occupational safety in West Africa.
He recalled the 2008 West Africa Health Sector Workers Union Network Conference in Abuja, Nigeria, relating to pandemic preparedness and health workers safety, stressing the need for their presence to be felt in major WAHO human resource activities within the health sector.
Kallon noted the language barrier for pan Africanism and underscored the importance for Anglo-phone and Franco- phone countries to articulate the issues of health for the less privilege and vulnerable people.
He reiterated his organization’s commitment in seeking the welfare and wellbeing of its workers by ensuring they work in a healthy environment while executing their duties.
WAHO Liaison Officer, Yayah Conteh, said the Ebola outbreak poses numerous challenges, describing the situation as an alert for Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
This year’s theme he said focuses on community participation to making communication an effective tool in the fight to contain the Ebola virus disease.
Conteh said has a strategic structured plan to support disease surveillance, health information management system, monitoring, human resource capacity building and additional plans to prevent future outbreaks in the region.
He lauded SLHSWU for their partnership in complementing the efforts of the government in building a resilient health system and assured them of their participation in future WAHO meetings.
The SLHSWU team also paid courtesy call on the Chief Nursing Officer at her Youyi Building office to dialogue on the concern for the safety of their workers since nursing has the largest workforce in the health sector.
The Chief Nursing Officer, Matron Hossinatu Kanu said the role of nurses is seen in every clinical, medical and surgical activity, and being the largest work force in the health sector, the lessons leant from the Ebola outbreak would be articulated into positive action to ensure the safety of the health worker and the patient.
She reiterated that patient and health worker safety is a key priority in the Ministry’s Post Ebola Recovery Plan including the water and sanitation component and infection, prevention and control.
Matron Kanu paid tribute and condolences to the fallen health workers and bereaved families and disclosed plans to organize a National Memorial Service in recognition of their invaluable patriotic services to the nation.
The Education Officer of Sierra Leone Health Services Workers Union, Mrs Christiana Conteh, reiterated their commitment to collaborate with the Ministry and its partners in helping to model the human resource capacity towards building a resilient health system within the health sector.
• Sources; JAK /KK /MOHS /SLENA. African Young Voices.
• See reports on respiratory protection against ebloa, and PPE procedures in viral exposure areas , on Sheqafrica.com
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