Police Intercepts Stolen Free Health Care Drugs
Friday July 8 2011
Amadu Femoh Sesay -Freetown
IG Francis Munu
The Inspector General of the Sierra Leone Police has disclosed to journalists that a significant amount of the consignment of the Free Health Care drugs recently stolen from two containers at the Queen Elizabeth ll Quay has been retrieved. Mr. Munu made the disclosure at the weekly press briefing at the Ministry of Information and Communications on Thursday.
Earlier, the Inspector General and the Minister of Health and Sanitation have confirmed that 356 cartoons of Free Health Care drugs were stolen from the Seaport.
Mr. Munu maintained that these cartoons of drugs bearing UNICEF’s logo including Free Health Care drugs, treated malaria mosquito bed nets for National Malaria Control Programme and Plan International and drugs for Tuberculosis patients stolen at the Airport were intercepted from two boats at the Susan’s Bay outlet heading for neighbouring Guinea. He said the boats with seven people on board were apprehended and brought to the Maritime Wing of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces for safety.
The police boss said that 285 cartoons of the Free Health Care drugs were also discovered in an unfinished 90 bedroom building at 7B Industrial Estate, Wellington, Freetown. Mr. Munu said three suspects were arrested in the said building.
The IG told media practitioners that those apprehended will be charged to court. “…very soon we are coming up with charges and all of them will be charged to court and prosecuted according to the laws…” he re-affirmed.
Mr. Munu told journalists that a nurse in Matotoka was caught with some Free Health Care drugs and treated bed nets. He said she was charged to court and is being remanded in custody.
Mr. Munu added that the police will provide the necessary security for the safety of these drugs. “…the police will provide security for the transportation of these drugs from the seaport, airport to the Central Medical Stores and to other centres within the country…” he said. He also made it clear that the investigation is ongoing.
Haja Zainab Bangura, Minister of Health and Sanitation. Click image to enlarge.
The Minister of Health and Sanitation, Haja Zainab Hawa Bangura, during the press conference told journalists that the Free Health Care system was introduced to benefit Sierra Leonean lactating mothers and Under five children . Mrs. Bangura urged Sierra Leoneans to serve as watch dogs. “…it is the responsibility of every citizen to monitor the implementation process of the Free Health Care system and report to the appropriate authority when being misused…” she said.
She added that a comprehensive distribution strategy process will be put in place to ensure that these drugs reach the right targets. “…effective next year all drugs will be input into a system before distribution. The distribution process will be made public. Journalists, civil society etc will have access to the information on the movement of drugs from any particular centre…” She added.