By Kadrie Koroma
Health and Sanitation Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah has launched the Sierra Leone National Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) Policy and Strategy 2017-2021 documents on Monday November 6, 2017 at the Shangri La Hotel at Lumley Beach in Freetown.
Health Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah launching the documents
The programme was organized by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation Directorate of Reproductive and Child Health in collaboration with development partners including the World Health Organization and World Bank.
Launching the documents, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah said the launching of the RMNCAH Policy and Strategy documents 2017-2021 is in line with the above commitments and activities and a further demonstration of the government’s commitments to address the issues of the people.
He said despite the investments by government and development partners, these investments have not quite translated in to the results that they would like to see on the ground.
Cross section of the audience
Dr. Fofanah informed his audience that the policy document sets out the following but achievable goals of reducing maternal mortality ratio from 1165 per 100,000 live births to 650 per 100,000 live births by 2021 and reduce neonatal mortality rate from 39 per 1000 live births to 23 per 1000 live births by 2021. He added that it will reduce under five mortality rate from 156 deaths per 1000 live births to 71 live births by 2021, reduce still birth rate from 24 per 1000 live births to 18 per 1000 live births by 2021, and reduce adolescent birthrate from 125.1 to 74 per 1000 women aged 15-19 years by 2021.
He reiterated that the development of comprehensive documents of this nature takes time and involves a lot of collaboration among stakeholders, and thanked all those in divers ways contributed to the production of the documents. He maintained that they are aware of the challenging nature of the environment under which they are operating in terms of resources, and they have prioritizes their interventions and limit them to only those high impacts low cost that could be delivered through an integrated approach.
The Minister believed that just as they were able to get to zero with Ebola, they can get to zero maternal, newborn, child and adolescents deaths, as well as ensuring each of them live to their full potential.
Acting WHO Officer in Charge, Dr. Janet Kayita described the launch of the strategy as very important and commended the Ministry of Health and Sanitation for the achievement particularly the Director of Reproductive and Child Health for the day to day leadership and guardian of the work.
Acting WHO Officer in Charge, Dr. Janet Kayita
World Bank Senior Health Specialist, Dr. Shiyong Wang described the launch of the two documents as an important milestone for the country in reducing maternal child deaths and improve the health of mothers and their children.
World Bank Senior Health Specialist, Dr. Shiyong Wang
He said the RMNCAH strategy is intending to address the most relevant and significant health issue facing the country, adding that it was built on the conscientious` and the use of objectives and activities.
DFID Health Adviser, Dr. Amit Bhandari stated that Sierra Leone has made progress since the post war, but the progress was not sufficient and that is why the data tells them that Sierra Leone has one of the worse health outcomes in the world.
DFID Health Adviser, Dr. Amit Bhandari
He said the hit by the Ebola outbreak in 2015 slow down some of the progress that has been made, adding that the Post-Ebola Presidential Recovery Plan did help some of the momentum that was lost during the Ebola outbreak. He added that as they move forward the new strategy and policy will help push further for a better achieve outcome for mothers and their newborn babies.
UNICEF Chief Child Survival and Development, Dr. Alison Jenkins congratulated the Ministry of Health for the achievement in putting in place a solid evidence-based strategy that would service the road map for them to mobilize around and monitor rather than generate result for reducing maternal and child mortality in Sierra Leone.
She re-affirmed UNICEF continued support for the implementation of the strategy through the Health Ministry and partners.
Highlight of the ceremony include statement by the Programme Officer, Health Alert Sierra Leone, Darlton John, presentations on the RMNCAH Policy and Strategy 2017-2021 by the Director of Reproductive and Child Health, Dr. Santigie Sesay, and Implementation Plan by Ernest Jabbie formed part of the ceremony.
The ceremony was chaired by the Director of Policy Planning and Information, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Samuel Kargbo.