Free Healthcare Campiagn resumes
As the constitutional review process resumes after a year due to the Ebola outbreak, the advocacy team and partners have remounted the Free Health Care campaign to see that it becomes sustainable. On Thursday, 29th October, we had another milestone engagement with national stakeholders in the campaign to include Free Health Care for pregnant women, lactating g mothers and children under the age of five in the revised 1991 National Constitutional of Sierra Leone.
The event which was graced by Ministers/representatives, Members of Parliament, Political Parties leaders/representatives, the media, Sub-committees’ members of the Constitutional Review Committee, Civil society groups and citizens from all walks of life, revived the hope for the sustainability of the Free Health Care Initiative. Though the Deputy Minister of Heath and sanitation I, Foday Sawi viewed it as too early to legislate the Free Health Care Initiative, he however informed all that His Excellency the President appreciates the aspiration for the move.
All political parties’ leaders or their representatives that attended the conference supported the course and most of them signed to the commitment pledge that reads: We the undersigned pledge our support for the inclusion of the Free Health Care for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under the age of five into the revised 1991 National Constitution of Sierra Leone.
The good news is that our position paper was included in the first draft of the review process. ”We had a serious argument but in the end we were able to convince them on the grounds that Health and Education are fundamental rights of the people. But we still have more work, after this stage we have the second draft, the validation then the referendum and in all these we need your full support”, said Gibril Kamara, Representative of State Policy on Human Rights of the Constitutional Review Committee.
Organizers also used the event to resubmit our campaign position paper to the CRC and Justice Tholla Thomson, Chairman of the Legislative Subcommittee received the submission, a formality to refuel the campaign train. It could be recalled that on May 19th 2013, the campaign team together with the community mobilizers, media and music ambassadors earlier presented our position paper to the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) at the CRC secretariat in Freetown. As we continue disseminating the campaign messages across the country, communities’ awareness support for our campaign has dramatically increased in all corners of Sierra Leone. “All we are looking forward now is the referendum, the people are excitedly waiting to demonstrate their support for the Free Health Care in the Constitution”, said Victor Koroma, Executive Director of our Civil Society organization, Health Alert Sierra Leone.