Health Ministry Validates 2014-2020 Strategic Plan

By Amie Sanneh

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare is holding a two-day workshop to validate its 2014-2020 Strategic Plan beginning 24 June 2014 at the Paradise Suites Hotel.

Officially opening the workshop on behalf of the Health Minister, the Permanent Secretary Makie Taal, said the development of the Strategic Plan was among the first processes the Health Minister initiated after his appointment in August in 2013. PS Taal also said that the availability of a National Sectoral Strategic Plan is high on the agenda of the President of the Republic and during the State Opening of Parliament he pronounced that all Government Sectors have a sectoral Strategic Plan. He explained that in order for an entity or sector to be successful, there needs to be a roadmap for success. According to him, the Plan if validated would serve as a guide in providing the health sector medium term focus, objectives and priorities to enable it move forward towards the attainment of the Gambia’s Health Policy Directions. “It will also serve as a catalyst for engaging stakeholders within and outside the government sector in addressing the broad determinants of health, which are beyond the purview of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare,” he said. The overall goal of the Strategic Plan, PS Taal continues, is to help significantly reduce inequalities in health care services and reserve the downward trend in health related outcome indicators. The successful implementation of this strategic plan he added, is essential for achieving health for all, the Vision 2020, the PAGE and health related MDGs. He envisaged that the document would help to increase and strengthen ownership for health by creating a new window of opportunity for the health sector to engage all the relevant stakeholders that have influence on health creation and development in a sustainable manner. The plan will also provide a way for his Ministry to determine its mission, purpose and underpinning values to guide their activities, he said. “It ensures the alignment of our priorities and activities with the government’s policies and priorities and outlines how they will deliver on the government’s policy agenda,” said P.S.Tall.

Speaking earlier on behalf of the WHO Representative, Momodou Ceesay said the development of this plan is a cause for celebration. He said it also calls for a moment of deep reflection on the areas where all concerned stakeholders would like to see much improvement in the delivery of health services in the Gambia. “Time is running out for achieving the MDGs and the Vision 2020 by the end of the implementation of the Strategic Plan it will be year 2020. There is need for all stakeholders in the health sector to work together and apply a concerted effort in helping the Gambia to overcome the key health issues facing the country including the control of communicable diseases as well as the management of the non communicable diseases of emerging importance,” he urged. A credible effort to overcome these issues must include a program to strengthen the health system that is responsible for delivering the health service for the nation, he added. Mr. Ceesay assured them of WHO’s support towards the implementation of the Strategic Plan.

In his welcoming remarks, the Director of Planning and Information Omar Bun Njie, said the Strategic Plan development is an overdue process that should have been accomplished long time ago. He recalled that it was in August 2013 when the Minister took up the challenge and commitment for the Ministry to have a Strategic Plan that would spell out the way forward for the Ministry. He described Strategic Plan as important for any institution more so the Health Ministry, thus calling on them to give it the attention it deserves. During the process of the development of the plan, Mr. Njie noted that they have gone through lots of hitches but now they have the privilege to come up with a comprehensive document that they can rely on to ensure a good health service delivery.

Also speaking at the validation on behalf of the WHO Representative, Momodou Ceesay said the development of this plan is a cause for celebration. He said it also calls for a moment of deep reflection on the areas where all concerned stakeholders would like to see much improvement in the delivery of health services in the Gambia. “Time is running out for achieving the MDGs and the Vision 2020 by the end of the implementation of the Strategic Plan, it will be year 2020. There is need for all stakeholders in the health sector to work together and apply a concerted effort in helping the Gambia to overcome the key health issues facing the country including the control of communicable diseases as well as the management of the non communicable diseases of emerging importance,” he stated. A credible effort to overcome these issues must include a program to strengthen the health system that is responsible for delivering health service for the nation, he added. Mr. Ceesay assured them of WHO’s support towards the implementation of the Strategic Plan.