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Sierra Leone Launches Health Budget Report

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The Budget Advocacy Network, Save the Children, Oxfam, and World Vision officially launched a nationwide Sierra Leone Health Budget Tracking Survey Report on Thursday October 11th, at the Hill Valley Hotel by the ACC commissioner Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara (in photo).

Chairman of the occasion, Mohamed Sillah, who happened to be the Country Director Action Aid Sierra Leone, in his opening remarks said the budget tracking exercise highlighted a number of issues that the Government urgently needs to address if the health and sanitation service in the nation are to be developed and strengthened.

He said that in 2012 the government allocated 7.4 percent of its budget to health and sanitation below the level allocated in 2009.

In explaining the purpose of the study Marc Faux representative from Oxfam pointed out that Sierra Leone is one of the world’s poorest countries facing huge health and sanitation challenges, adding that in 2012 Sierra Leone has experienced its worst cholera out-break, adding that a key part of improving these rates of death and disease are increasing and targeting investments in to the health and sanitation sector, especially areas such as maternal health care, new born, and child health and sanitation.

However he said based on that, in 2012 budget Advocacy Network, Oxfam, Save the Children and World Vision International decided to conduct a nationwide analysis on the health and sanitation budget at national, local council, District Health management (DHMT), hospitals and peripheral health unit (PHU) levels. He said their aim of the analysis is to understand how the Government is investing health and sanitation across the country and tracking the Government’s progress towards meeting the Abuja and Ethekwini Declaration to spend 15 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on sanitation.

The funding partners Budget Advocacy Network (BAN), Director of Budget, Public Finance Management (PFM), local Government Finance Department acknowledges the good initiative for the Sierra Leone health budget tracking survey report. They noted that their aim is to advise the Government on policy decisions and not to force them how they should allocate budget spending.

 In giving the keynote address ACC Commissioner expressed his dissatisfaction over the ministry of Health and Sanitation for not being present at the occasion as it covered their department, he called it a lack of professional responsibility.

He noted that there is a need for local councils, DHMTs and hospitals to become much more rigorous in terms of record-keeping, adding that data from 2009 is missing across many of the local councils and even in the central Government. He further noted that there are also huge disparities between what the records show the local councils have transferred to DHMTs, and what DHMT record show have been received from local councils.

He advises each and every one to be watch dogs rather than the ACC alone.

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