The Government of Sierra Leone in collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank funded Strengthening Covid Response and Essential Health Services Project, has entrusted the World Health Organisation (WHO) to procure Laboratory and Blood Transfusion services items for the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHs). The said Items were handed over the Ministry at the WHO office in Sierra Leone on Friday 6th August 2021.
In his brief remarks during the handing over ceremony the Dr. Steven Shongwe (WHO Representative) recognised the strong commitment of the Government of Sierra Leone in spending funds judiciously for the procurement of these important and valuable commodities for the improvement of laboratory and blood services. He mentioned that this is a strong statement by the government that they want clean blood transmutation for their citizens and well-equipped laboratories with efficient services that can meet the needs of its population. Dr. Shongwe recognised the contribution of the Islamic Development Bank in the purchase of these items and said that the total estimated value of the items is USD 33,100,000 (thirty three thousand one hundred united state Dollars), excluding shipment and other relevant cost.
The items includes Pipettes, HemoCue Hb 301 microcuvettes, Vacutainer Tubes, Leishman stain solution, Ammonium Oxalate, Anti-Blood grouping reagent RDT HIV ½ and Blood Bags. Dr. Shongwe appealed that people should be encouraged to donate blood, as blood transfusion saves lives, and there are so many children in need of blood, and blood products to sustain their lives.
The WHO representative reiterated the commitment of WHO and other partners to continue their support to the government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, to support the Health System and strengthening the country so it would achieve a Universal Health Coverage.
The Honourable Minister of Health and Sanitation Dr. Austin Demby in his statement said that the country is in the middle of the fight against the COVID-19 Virus and they are doing everything to contain the third wave, but notwithstanding that “we do have to remind our-self that Health care delivery across the board for all other illness is really important and should not forget that”. The Honourable Minister said having considered two main factors that are really quite Laudable in the health sector ie Contribution to the Laboratory Services and Support to the National Blood Transfusion Service; led to the valuable contribution of the Islamic Development Bank and the Government of Sierra Leone investing in its own Health Care System.
He continued to say that as a nation, Sierra Leone has really great doctors, Nurses in the Health care System, but it’s also equally important to have good Diagnostics as the basis for treatment, therefore the Labs are important to ensure appropriate high quality Scientific based diagnosis that will guide medical practitioners in the delivery of service, and eradicate the transfusion of contaminated bloods, and making sure bloods are matched appropriately. Dr. Austin Demby said with the acquisition these materials will provide an opportunity to not only provide efficient Lab Service on one hand, but also to have a reliable trustworthy material. The Minister said that hopefully over the next three months, the ministry will at this holistically, to see that the strategy for Blood transfusion service throughout the country will be coordinated. He encouraged people to voluntarily donate Blood, as blood donation is a national service, and people should make it a culture or tradition to donate blood.
The Hon. Minister on behalf of the government of Sierra Leone, thanked the WHO and IDB, for being good partners and securing the items. He gave the assurance, that the Ministry of Health will ensure that the products are used effectively and that they don’t stay on shelves in the ware-house, but go directly to the people where they are needed to be able to provide good quality service, not only for the regular blood transfusion service but overall Laboratory service in general.