WHO concludes joint Operational Planning Retreat with Ministry of Health and Sanitation

SIERRA LEONE – The World Health Organization Country Office in Sierra Leone has concluded a two-day high level technical and operational planning retreat with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to develop and validate the key priorities for the Organization’s 2022-2023 biennial Operational Work Plan.

The consultative process facilitated strategic discussions on aligning the Organization’s two years activities with the health priorities of the government of Sierra Leone.

Every other year, Country Offices of the World Health Organization develop their operational plans informed by the Organization’s General Programme of Work. These activities are developed in line with and aligned to the priorities of their host countries.

The discussions were held in plenary and group sessions and were led from the WHO side by the Country Representative, Dr Steven Shongwe and from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the Chief Medical Officer Dr Thomas T. Samba.

Commending the government for the conducive environment and close and friendly collaboration with WHO, Dr Shongwe reaffirmed the Organization’s continued commitment to support the country’s health agenda and aspiration to improve the quality of health service delivery to ensure that no one is left behind.

“Planning together with the national health authorities is not an option for WHO. It is a mandate that we must fulfil”, says Dr Shongwe.

The ultimate aim of WHO’s role in countries is to provide the required technical support and we can only do that effective by ensuring that there is ownership, strong collaboration and cohesion between WHO plans and the national health agenda”.

Speaking at the meeting, as the technical head of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr Samba emphasized the critical importance of planning with clear recognition of the context and needs of the country.

He described the WHO Country Office as a secretariat of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and that the two entities will continue to work closely together with the goal of improving the health sector in Sierra Leone.

As part of the planning process, the WHO Country team led by Dr Shongwe held prior consultations with the Chief Medical Officer and technical leads at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to agree on the strategic issues relating to planning, monitoring and coordination.

This high-level engagement was followed by bilateral consultations among the respective technical units at WHO and their technical area counterparts at the MoHS where they discussed their priority activities for inclusion in the two-year plan for presentation at the retreat.

The retreat served as an additional opportunity for the teams to further strengthen the existing partnership between WHO and the MoHS and also facilitated rich inputs which are used in the development of WHO’s biennial plan.

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