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Sierra Leone News: Family planning key to development – MSSL

Evidence from the United Nations Population Fund shows that women who have access to family planning and choose to use family planning, have smaller families, higher educational achievements, healthier children and greater economic power as well influence in their households and communities.
Family planning according to United Nations Population Fund is one of the most cost-effective ways of improving health and the lack of it can be a significant barrier to a better life.
As parts of its commitments to decrease teenage pregnancy by 2020 and it tragic implications in maternal mortality, Marie Stopes Sierra Leone, on Tuesday 26 June 2018, unveiled the “Rainy Season koba-klos” promotion to widening access to free family planning services across Sierra Leone.
In Sierra Leone 28% adolescence girls under give birth each year. Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for 15 to 19-year old girls globally. Every year, some 3.9 million girls aged 15 to 19 years undergo unsafe abortions.
Dr Omo-Obi, Country Director, MSSL, noted that widening access to family planning averts maternal deaths and unsafe abortion adding that the such promotion offers long acting and reversible contraceptives including IUDs, implant and cervical screening, prevention and treatment. “The rain season koba-klos is an exceptional unique opportunity for women, girls and couples to have the power to choose contraceptive method of choice and screened for cervical cancer in one go,” Dr. Omo-Obi added.
He added that failure to give women access to reliable family planning increase poverty and reduces the number of girls in school and workforce.
Dr. Omo-Obi noted the access to family planning as human right pointing out that MSSL drive to reach out to girls and women with quality, personalised and confidential free services across the country is to give women the power to choose when she want children as achieve their aspirations and dreams.
Edna Koroma (real name withhold) narrated how she struggled with abject poverty while raising her children. She stated, “Feeding was a huge problem. It was so bad that to cook a pot of watery soup. I would include one piece of meat so that the big watery pot of soup would have a slight aroma of meat and give her large family the feeling that they were eating meat.
“Sometimes,” she added, “we had to beg for a loaf of bread to feed the children. It was a harrowing experience especially because I also lived in mortal fear of getting pregnant again and deepening the choking cycle of poverty.” “Family planning helped me to manage my fertility and this freedom empowered me to go back to school and get educated. Today, I have a fantastic job,” she pointed out. Dr. Felix Ikenna Onukwor, Director, Quality Assurance and Management, MSSL, spoke about the range of quality and affordable sexual and reproductive health services that MSSL has being offering in the different part of the country. SV/26/6/18
By Sylvia Villa
Wednesday June 27, 2018.

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