Health System and EPI Program
Following a 2008 decentralization program, primary health care services in Sierra Leone are the responsibility of 19 local councils (12 district councils, 5 town councils, the Freetown City Council and the Western Area Rural Council).
Immunization is a priority intervention in Sierra Leone’s National Health Sector Strategic Plan 2010‐2015. The EPI Program is located in the Medical Services Directorate, Primary Health Care Division of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. An Inter‐Agency Coordinating Committee meets monthly to oversee EPI operations. There is an EPI Unit in each of the country’s 13 Districts.
Over the period 2006-2011, Gross National Income (GNI) in Sierra Leone increased from 250 US$ to 340 US$ per capita. According to the WHO/UNICEF-Joint Reporting Form Database, Sierra Leone has only reported government expenditures on routine immunization for 2007, 2008 and 2011. In 2007 the reported expenditure was zero, either indicating that the government in fact did not contribute funds towards routine immunization or that no data was available for reporting. Due to limited data availability, it is hard to observe a trend in government expenditures on routine immunization. An amount 7,837 US$ was reported as a government expenditure for 2011. Unfortunately, the value is questionable since it is significantly lower than what was last reported in 2008.
Sierra Leone has a representative democracy. The 1991 Constitution provides for a popularly elected president. The president nominates ministers whom parliament must approve. The Sierra Leone Parliament is unicameral. Twelve seats are reserved for paramount chiefs and 112 seats were popularly elected. All are for five year terms. The paramount chiefs are selected indigenously while the other MPs are individually elected. Parliament meets annually from October-December.
Two parliamentary committees are germane to national EPI financing: The Budget Oversight Committee and The Finance Committee.
Chapter II, Section 8 (Social objectives), Provision 3 of the 1991 Sierra Leonean Constitution states that the government will ensure that all citizens have easy access to adequate medical and health facilities.
The Child Rights Act (2007) establishes a National Commission for Children, which has the responsibility of assuring all children have access to health care.
- June 2012: Peer exchangers from the Liberian Parliament and MoH attended a legislative briefing and workshop organized jointly by the Ugandan Parliament and Sabin to discuss legislative strategies and draft immunization laws for SIF East African countries.