Nationwide survey of health facilities underway in Sierra Leone

Nationwide survey of health facilities underway in Sierra Leone Photo credit: WHO/Keenan L

Currently Sierra Leone’s largest every survey of health facilities is underway as part of an extended Service Availability and Readiness Assessment (SARA+), which aims to provide critical data and information on health service quality and availability right across the country. It will also enable comprehensive mapping of current health services.

Conducted by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation with support from WHO, John Snow Inc, the Global Fund and the UK Government, the survey will assess all of the country’s 1350 registered health facilities, both public and private and at all tiers of the health system, from the smallest maternal health posts to the largest urban hospitals. 

The assessment looks at issues such as the availability of key staff, infrastructure, equipment and amenities, essential medicines and diagnostic capacities, data quality, and the readiness of health facilities to provide key healthcare interventions. 

The SARA is an important exercise for Sierra Leone as part of a series of efforts to strengthen the health system, and deliver quality health services to the people,” said Robert Marten, Health Systems Lead at WHO Sierra Leone. “It will also enable the Government and partners to track and capture impact and deliver the right kind of programmes where they are needed most.”

The assessment, known as SARA+, is most likely a first in Africa – in that it brings together a Data Quality Review, Service Quality Review, and Service Availability and Readiness Assessment. Extensive orientations and trainings have taken place to support the exercise, with 40 survey teams now in place working across all 14 districts. 

The findings of the report are expected to be released later in the year.