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by Diana Williams
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VP Juldeh Jalloh Chairs Inter-Ministerial Committee Meeting on SLESHI

The Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh on Wednesday August 4, 2021 hosted the inter-ministerial committee on Sierra Leone Social Health Insurance Scheme (SLESHI) at the conference room of the Office of the Vice President to discuss issues of health insurance scheme for Sierra Leoneans.In his opening statement, the Honorable Vice President outlined the importance of SLESHI stating that it is the vision of HE President Julius Maada Bio to provide affordable health care to Sierra Leoneans and this is a huge step in that direction. SLESHI is a social health insurance scheme for Sierra Leoneans that focuses on the reduction of “out of pocket” expenditure on medicals. It aims at improving access to quality medical services for all and improved equity in medical services. According to the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Austin Demby, the discourse revolved around how the government can improve the health care system of the country and to develop a health insurance scheme that will enhance public access to quality health care service and reduce “out of pocket” healthcare expenditure for the people. He furthered that the scheme will require members to pay a minimal amount as contribution that will enable government provide quality medical services to members when they become ill without rendering them poor.He said the Scheme is targeting the general populace in various categories including the formal and informal sectors as well as create a safety net for the most vulnerable group especially the aged. He furthered that the scheme is an instrument used to gain universal access to quality health service for all. The Minister noted that the committee is working on the different contributions for each category which he assured will be very minimal and affordable. The Minister of Labor and Social Security Osman Alpha Timbo Esq. said the health insurance scheme is part of Social Protection adding that, the minimum standards for social security is contained in the Social Security Minimum Standards Convention 102 which gives provision for nine contingencies in social security.He noted that government had covered part of the nine contingencies which are old age, invalidity and death and survivor’s benefit under NASSIT and that going forward, government is looking into health insurance.He continued that the scheme will entail the employee and employer’s contribution and a well defined benefit to be covered by the scheme which will be guided by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. In attendance were the Chief Minister and other Cabinet Ministers.

Former NASSIT Board Chair Convicted Over SISIMI Medical Project 

The High Court of Sierra Leone, Holden at Freetown, presided over by the Honourable Justice Miatta M. Samba [JSC] was on Thursday 5 August, 2021, convicted and sentenced Yeabu M.D Kamara, former Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, National Social Security and Insurance Trust [NASSIT]. She has been convicted and sentenced to pay Le 50 million immediately, on four out of six Counts of corruption offences by Justice Miatta M. Samba. Kamara was standing trial alongside the late Joseph Mans, former Director General of NASSIT, on one count of Engaging in a project without Prior Planning, contrary to section 48[2][c]; one count of Wilfully Failing to comply with the Law Relating to the Tendering of Contracts, contrary to Section 48[2][b]; one count of Misappropriation of Public Funds, contrary to section 36[1]; and three counts of Conspiracy to Commit a Corruption Offence, contrary to Section 128[1]; of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008.

Salone Out of UK Red List

The UK Government through its Transport Department has removed Sierra Leone from the Red list travel restrictions alert, to the moderate Amber list, effective Sunday 8 August 2021. “We will maintain our tough border controls including the red list and recognising the protection afforded by two doses of the vaccine, we will work with the travel industry towards removing the need for fully vaccinated arrivals to isolate on return from an amber country,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

More Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine Arrive

Sierra Leone yesterday 8 August 2021 received 96,000 more doses of the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine. The vaccine according to a joint press statement by Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation and its partners was donated by France and delivered by UNICEF through the COVAX facility that it is part of Europe’s broader efforts to equitable access to vaccines in lower and middle income countries.

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