Ministry of Health and Sanitiation

This week was the week where I was able to interview policy makers who make the decisions that currently impact the health care delivery system. My research this week took me to the Youyi Building. The Youyi Building is one of Sierra Leone’s most important administrative government buildings. The Youyi Building houses the most important government ministries such as Department of Forestry and Mining and Department of Health and Sanitation.

The Youyi Building is the equivalent to a government building in D.C, but when I walked into the Youyi Building I was shocked –it was so filthy, smelly and disgusting that I thought to myself that it was impossible for this building to be a government building.   As I was going up the six flight of stairs to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, I started to think about all the accusations of negligence, incompetence and ineffectiveness of officials in the Ministry as the truth. ,

But as I actually began to interview Ministry officials and listened to their point of view, a different picture began to emerge.  Ministry officials painted themselves as individuals in charge of making tough choices, and using the best of their knowledge and resources available to them to make these tough decisions.  I talked to a wide range of officials:  from the Chief Nursing Officer, to the Chief Medical Office, to the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, and to the Procurement Officer to name a few.  From my research at the Ministry, I realized that the criticism from people who are not Ministry officials is not completely fair and warranted.  I realized that the criticism that the people at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation are lazy, selfish, greedy individuals who just care about getting wealthier and not the welfare of Sierra Leone is completely false.  I realized that the people in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation are doing the best they can to fix the health care delivery system, but the criticism comes because everything the Ministry is doing is not an overnight fix but rather a long term fix. People are impatient and want the system to be fixed in a year but in reality, the system is so badly broken that it might take more than 30 years to fix.IMG_0381 IMG_0380


  1. inthomas says:

    I think it is crazy how easily our perception of a situation can change once we hear someone else give their point of view. It is crazy to me how much wealthier America is to most of the world, and it is sad to see other people suffer in terrible conditions, especially when we have the ability to help. Your experience sounds very eye-opening. I hope you continue to learn from it and enjoy it.