Pres. Bio explains successes in health sector

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His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has addressed the opening of the 2022 National Health Summit in Freetown, awarded diligent healthcare workers, saying that the theme: “Health Promotion for Well-being, Equity and Sustainable Development” aligns with his commitments.

“This year’s theme resonates with goals my Government set in our manifesto commitments five years ago and outcomes we described and have been working towards in our Medium-Term National Development Plan. It also aligns with international commitments we have made to work toward Universal Health Coverage and Sustainable Development Goals.

He used the occasion to thank development partners, friends, policymakers, and most especially, healthcare workers right across Sierra Leone for believing in, supporting, and working assiduously toward a collective vision of improving health outcomes and providing equitable access to affordable, quality healthcare.

“Exactly three years ago at TED in Vancouver…, I challenged…that ‘the most audacious and nation-changing events or policies or even personal choices happen when we ask, ‘Why not,’ then make bold choices, and ensure those bold choices happen.’ We made a bold choice to improve human capital development.

“We asked ourselves ‘why not’ enhance and expand a national ambulance service; develop focused strategic plans and health sector policies; restructure our disease surveillance systems and successfully fight off epidemics and pandemics; operationalise an affordable health insurance scheme; introduce an innovative national health-on-wheels scheme; revamp the leadership and rework the future of health care delivery in this country; and, work with the private sector on new infrastructure and other investments? All of these we have achieved and more,” he said.

Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr Austin Demby said that the country’s health system had an enviable structure with about 85% of the population within a five-kilometer distance of a health facility, saying that hospital services remained central and critical to the attainment of Universal Health Coverage, UHC, which was about leaving no one behind and providing timely, appropriate, and high-quality services at an affordable price for every citizen.

“Implementing the life stages approach to achieving UHC will ultimately lead to accelerated gains in the country’s Human Capital Development. The ministry wants to reduce the maternal mortality rate from 717 to 300/100,000 livebirths, reduce the infant mortality rate from 75 to 28/1000 livebirths, reduce the adolescent birth rate from 102 to 50/1000 livebirths and increase life expectancy from 54-58 years,” he said.

Minister of Finance II, Bockarie Kalokoh, said they were key in transforming health service delivery to UHC, adding that they believed access to quality healthcare services was an investment in Human Capital Development.

He added that a robust and well-implemented scheme would increase workers’ productivity, which in turn would boost output, drive revenue collection, and increase the Government’s revenue base to allow available fiscal space for the implementation of critical priority programmes that would ultimately lead to national economic growth and development.

Speaking in her capacity as an African Champion for Sanitation and Hygiene, First Lady Fatima Bio said it was a remarkable day to celebrate a major milestone in the health sector, adding that a lot of transformation was happening in the sector since 2018. She argued that for a nation to develop, there must be a strong healthcare system to take adequate care of the citizens of that country.

Mrs. Fatima Bio stated that healthcare was closer to her heart and that was why she became a major crusader for the 34 Military Hospital to be transformed into a state-of-the-art hospital that would provide sophisticated treatment and teaching facilities for healthcare workers.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, Dr Babatunde Ahonsi addressed the summit and congratulated President Julius Maada Bio for his leadership in spearheading the prevention and control of the pandemic, saying that the COVID-19 pandemic had negatively impacted socio-economic development the world over, including the health sector where there had been disruption of health services. 

Hon Justice Fatmatta Bintu Alhadi makes history for Sierra Leone

Hon. Justice Fatmatta Bintu Alhadi was Called to the Bench of the Middle Temple Inn of England and Wales on Tuesday 5th April 2022.

She is the first African, first African Woman and first Sierra Leonean to be called to the Bench of the Middle Temple.

Accompanied by a large group of family and friends, Hon Justice Alhadi attended the ceremony and dinner banquet, held at the Middle Temple Inn in the presence of the Chief Justice of England and Wales and four other distinguished Callees from Barbados, the UK and Canada.

 The Inns of Court

The Inns of Court in London are the professional association for barristers in England and Wales. The 4 Inns of Court are Gray’s Inn, Lincoln’s Inn, Inner Temple and Middle Temple.

All Barristers must belong to one of them. The Inns have supervisory and disciplinary functions over their members.

 Benchers

Fewer than 2% of Barristers qualified in the UK will be Called to the Bench. Benchers are expected to guide and nurture the next generation of Barristers and manage the financial affairs of the Inn.

New Benchers are elected by current Benchers from a pool of thousands of Barristers.  

 Other Callees of the Bench Call, 5 April 2022 Hon Justice Alhadi was Called alongside the following: Sir Elliott Mottley KCMG QC (Barbados). His daughter is the current Prime Minister of Barbados

  Auditor Generals’ Ongoing Tribunal…

State lawyer Demands 3 Weeks to Prepare

By Feima Sesay.                         

 Lead state Counsel Thomas A. Freeman has on Thursday 7th April 2022  in the ongoing Tribunal of Auditor General Madam Lara Taylor Pearce and deputy Mr Tamba Momoh   requested a three weeks adjournment to enable him served relevant documents on the defense team.

 Auditor General, Madam Lara Taylor-Pearce and Deputy Tamba Momoh admitted in court that they understood the objective of the Gazette for which the tribunal was set up.

The Chairperson of the Tribunal, Hon. Justice Nyawo Matturi-Jones in her response says, “this is a season of adaptation.”

She alluded to for example, Section 137 of the Constitution which is Specifically provided to protect Judges’ tenure of office, noting that the Constitution has provided in Section 119 (9) that the Auditor General be accorded the same protection of tenure of office as Judges.

She said the Secretariat is yet to be properly set up in their new location, but assured that on the next adjourned date they will avail the State and Defence team with a Practice Direction to guide the entire process.

Justice Matturi-Jones implored all concerned persons to be patient with the Preliminary proceedings.

The Court of Appeal Judge, Hon. Justice Ivan Sesay explained the purpose of the Tribunal as read to the suspended Auditor General and the Deputy Auditor General. He further asked if they understood the purpose of the Tribunal and they (Auditor General and the Deputy Auditor General) confirmed yes.

Pa Momoh Fofana Esq representing the Deputy Auditor General-Tamba Momoh, said his client will be absent at the next adjourned date set for the issuance of Practice Direction. He said he will be in Court to receive Practice Direction on behalf of his client.

However, the Tribunal granted Lawyer Fofana’s request.

One of the Tribunal members, Lawyer Lahai Farma said the Tribunal has inherent power to give out direction during proceedings of this investigation in addition to practice direction.

The Auditor and Deputy were represented adequately by their lawyers.

The matter comes up on Thursday 21st April, 2022 at 10:00am

SLAJ Appoints Gender Advisory Panel

The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) is a not-for-profit professional organisation advocating for the right to freedom of expression, free speech online, free media, and democratic good governance.

SLAJ recognises that gender inequality is a major challenge in the media in Sierra Leone. While the Association acknowledges that discrimination, harassment, and inequality on the basis of gender are not limited to the media, it wants to make it a priority to deal with these issues within the media.

The media in Sierra Leone is male-dominated, in terms of ownership and representation in leadership positions across individual media institutions as well as in SLAJ and its affiliate bodies.

Out of a total of 718 active SLAJ members across the country, only 170 are women.

Women in the media suffer unequal distribution of assignments in the newsroom. The male reporters are given assignments to cover hard news while female reporters are given soft beats.

Gender-sensitive reporting in the media is also very low.

Women journalists also claim they face sexual harassment and intimidation in the media from their male colleagues and superiors.

These are only a few of the challenges female journalists face.

While SLAJ does not have control over the employment and editorial policies of media houses, the Association wants to support efforts aimed at formulating policies that make the newsroom more conducive for female journalists.

To help it achieve this objective, the Association is hereby announcing the appointment of the following distinguished personalities to serve on its first-ever Gender Advisory Panel. This panel will advise SLAJ on gender issues, and conduct periodic gender audits that inform the way the Association formulates policies.

President of SLAJ, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, said: “Members of the SLAJ Gender Advisory Panel are volunteers, helping SLAJ and the Sierra Leone media to promote a level playing field for all practitioners irrespective of their gender. We thank the appointees for consenting to serve on the panel, and we hope and pray their contribution will change the narrative for women (and men) in the media.”

The SLAJ Gender Advisory Panel: Williette P.R.O. James- Chairperson:

Dr. Williette Princess Ransolina Oluwakemi James is a Sierra Leonean journalist, lecturer and Gender advocate. Since 2010, she has interspersed her journalistic work with gender advocacy in the media. Williette has practiced as a journalist for 22 years. She got part of her training in journalism at the Sky High Magazine in Walthamstow, London, and has benefitted from several other media and gender trainings nationally and internationally. She is currently the Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Communication Media and Information Studies at Fourah Bay College University of Sierra Leone.

Chernor A. Bah- Member: Chernor Bah is a globally recognised champion of girls rights, global education and youth development. He is the Co-founder and Co-CEO of Purposeful – the first Africa rooted, global feminist hub for girls activism. At 15 Chernor founded and led the Children’s Forum Network, a mass movement of children who mobilized to demand their voices be included in peace and reconciliation efforts after Sierra Leone’s civil war. In 2012, Bah co-founded A World at School – a global mobilization and campaign organization for education. He has been appointed numerous times by the United Nations Secretary-General and is a frequent speaker and advisor at high-level platforms including the United Nations, The European Union, the World Bank, and major universities around the world.

Naasu Genevieve Fofanah- Member: Naasu Genevieve Fofanah is an Entrepreneur, accomplished Author, results-oriented international development and Public Administration Professional. She has substantive experience in psychology, gender, education, global public policy and management. Ms. Fofanah has a proven track record of success in offering senior policy advisory services to governments, bilateral and multilateral institutions, NGOs, CSOs on a broad spectrum of development issues. As Special Gender Adviser to the previous Government, Ms. Fofanah spearheaded the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment national policy in the Agenda for Prosperity (PRSP III). At the Regional level, she served as Vice-Chairperson of the UNECA Bureau on Women representing West Africa. She is a renowned women and girl’s rights activist with several awards to her name.

Joseph ‘Josephine’ Ayamga- Secretary:Joseph Ayamga is the Country Director of SEND Sierra Leone, an NGO that has done extensive work on women and girls empowerment in the Eastern Region of Sierra Leone. He is widely regarded as the initial champion of women in governance networks and has been able to mobilise more than 36,000 mostly rural women into governance and livelihood cooperatives in the East, South, and Western regions of Sierra Leone. Under his leadership, the NGO has grown exponentially from its initial presence in only Kailahun District to working in eight districts within five years. Ayamga’s work has contributed significantly to Kailahun making history in the 2012 elections as the only district to attain 41% of women representation in the local council. Recently, he has been responsible for establishing the Nyapui School and the Radio as platforms to give voice to women and build the next generation of women leaders. Ayamga is now called Jospehine by women in the Eastern region.

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