Baroness Tonge – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for International Development

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Baroness Tonge on 2016-10-17.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made in setting up a coordinated and effective health care system in Sierra Leone, following the Ebola outbreak.

Lord Bates

DFID is supporting the President’s Recovery Plan (PRP) that focuses on delivering its two health priorities to strengthen Sierra Leone’s health system post Ebola. They are:

(i) Prevent, detect and respond to epidemics to ensure zero cases of Ebola. DFID is providing £38.5million to support epidemic preparedness in the country by strengthening disease surveillance, laboratory services, maintaining a rapid deployable treatment centre and monitoring Ebola survivors. This programme has been operational since December 2015 and will finish in December 2017.

(ii) Saving the Lives of 600 women and 5,000 children. DFID is providing £150million over five years (2016 – 2021) to support the Government’s saving lives target by June 2017 and then increase the availability and quality of Reproductive Maternal Neonatal Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) services by 2021. This is being done by equipping emergency obstetric centres, providing adolescent reproductive health services, increasing the availability of skilled health workers and by providing bed nets and free medicines to mothers and children. This programme commenced implementation this month.

Each health priority has a clearly defined work plan with milestones and is coordinated by the Ministry of Health. Progress against the milestones is monitored and reported weekly with the President reviewing progress each fortnight. District surveillance reports are submitted weekly to track the incidence of notifiable diseases (such as Ebola, Cholera and Lassa fever), detect clusters of unexplained deaths and trigger immediate investigation. In additional DFID is engaging in the longer term planning to strengthen Sierra Leone’s health system, including the development of a five year RMNCAH strategy.