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Sierra Leone: Save the children International holds forum to curb child mortality

The Every One Campaign championed by Save the Children International, has organized a forum at the Presidential Lounge, National Stadium, to discuss pertinent issues affecting maternal and infant health and mortality in the country.
An appalling statistics revealed during power-point presentations from officials of the Health Ministry and Save the Children indicate that every year, a total of 6.9 million children die before their 5th birthday, and approximately 3 million newborn babies die in the first month of life; whereas, 287,000 women die due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
Moreover, the statistics further indicate that there is a 4.2% maternal mortality ratio and 2.5% child mortality for ages ranging between 1-5 months, while neonatal mortality ratio is slated at 1.8%.
During his presentation, the Director for Reproductive Child Health at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr. S.A.S. Kargbo said that the productive child health division has strategized planned programmes of action to promote child welfare issues.
He noted that government’s commitment has been demonstrated through the introduction of the Free Health Care Initiative, which, he said, has made significant progress in the reduction of maternal and child mortality. He added that the Free Health Care ensured the removal of user fees for pregnant women, breast feeding mothers and children under the age of five, as well as increased salaries for health workers.
Save the Childern’s Head Health and HIV, Dr. Sam Agbo said the purpose of the forum, was to highlight the gaps and challenges relating to newborn care, and the need for a collective approach towards addressing it.
Therefore, he went on, the event will bring together a range of newborn and child health actors at government and non-governmental levels to share the latest global and country level statistics and experiences on newborn care as well as specific interventions being conducted by the Health and Sanitation Ministry and other health related organizations.
As a result, Dr. Agbo noted, the goal of the project is to increase commitment from the government, the Health Ministry and stakeholders concerned, for a renewed focus, more robust plans and programmes directed towards addressing newborn care.
The Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation I, Dr. Abubakarr Fofanah assured of strong government’s commitment towards child health policy in its Agenda for Prosperity and expressed hope that the forum will provide meaningful suggestions and recommendations that will ultimately increase knowledge on issues affecting maternal, infant and newborn health in the country, so that it will aid government’s approach in further decreasing the prevailing statistics on child health.
By Poindexter Sama

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