Newly appointed Minister of Health of Sierra Leone, Dr. Austin Hinga Demby, said he is confident and determined to improve the health sector in Sierra Leone.
“The burden of disease is predominantly communicable disease, with 25% of deaths due to malaria, 9% due to hypertension and 9% due to maternal causes. In outpatients, the predominant conditions are tuberculosis, human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis, hypertension and diabetes.” (Primary Health Care and Family Medicine in Sierra Leone – by Colan Robinson).
Dr. Hinga subscribed to the oath of office as Minister of Health and Sanitation before His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio, and assured that he is bringing a wealth of experience to the job.
Before his recent appointment, the US and UK trained health expert, with specialties in microbiology, epidemiology, and biostatistics, served as Deputy Director, Office of Global Health at Health Resources and Services Administration in the United States. He had also worked with the Centres for Disease Control and Preventions abroad for many years
Dr Demby described the ceremony of his swearing-in as a milestone, adding that with his wealth of experience having served in various parts of the world, he was confident and determined to deliver. He thanked the President for the opportunity to help him transform the health sector of the small west African nation.
“Mr. President let me assure you that I am ready for the job and I am willing to give my best. If someone is ready 100%, I am ready 200%. Sierra Leoneans are resilient people and they have demonstrated that during various challenging times such as Ebola and now COVID-19,” he said.
In his brief remarks, the President congratulated him and wished him well, adding that his was a daunting task but with which he was remarkably familiar after helping the country during the Ebola outbreak in 2014/15 and now the with the COVID-19 pandemic.
He reminded the new minister that the country was battling with the COVID-19 and that he was taking up a ministry with challenges which he must surmount to ensure that the government realised a major pillar of its human capital development.