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Sierra Leone News: Presidential aspirants should commit to reducing maternal mortality

As part of their next five-year strategy on maternal and infant mortality, Focus 1000 will engage presidential aspirants to commit themselves to reducing it. “We will challenge them to include it in their manifesto so that we can go back to the winner after the election to follow-up on their promises made during the campaign,” said CEO Alhaji Bailor Jalloh.
Political commitment, he said, is already there but they want to challenge everyone to be involved to reduce the mortality rate by joining their ‘Happy Kombra campaign’.
“Pregnancy is not a sickness and a woman should not die whilst giving birth. She should be able to deliver and be happy. The children are our best investment,” said Jalloh.
Jalloh said that they have succeeded in bringing together different sectors to set up the Kombra Network. “We believe that everything in this country has religious and traditional implications especially with this public health issues that we are promoting.”
Religion and tradition have been used to promote negative health behaviours, so now they are engaging the religious leaders to use the sayings of the two holy books to challenge those practices.
Those books he says promote the saving of lives, breastfeeding, immunisation, so when religious leaders deliver messages it will be accepted by their congregations. They have set up Islam and Christian Action Groups across the country.
People complained about traditional healers being part of the problem. “But we said let them be part of the solution.
So they formed the bush to bush campaign which helped to cut down on the transmission of Ebola.”
The issue of immunisation was also a concern; they have engaged the market women, as during those periods some women had already taken their children to the market, the women have decided to have booths within the market. Also sales of peanuts that are meant for malnourished children they have agreed not to sell them.
As they celebrate their fifth year of existence this October, they have succeeded to build the Kombra Network. “We have used this network to fight Ebola, immunisation and now we are using it to deal with the issue of maternal and child mortality.”
The campaign he said will be done through this network, “we do not want them to continue to die, government has done theirs but still we have the highest rate of mortality. We will not accept that so we should work together.”
By Zainab Joaque
Monday October 30, 2017.

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