By Hassan Bruz
Northern Bureau Chief
The Resolve of President Ernest Bai Koroma and Government to improve the Health Status of the People of Sierra Leone with a particular reference to the lives of Women and Children is once again to be demonstrated by the observance of a National Week long Campaign on Maternal and Child Health. As the ultimate goal of this Campaign is to reduce the Morbidity and Mortality in Children that are below 5 years of age, every District is now getting set in making sure that the week is observed in the respective Districts without any hiccup.
Port Loko in the Northern Province of the Country is one of the Districts where such preparations are now at a top gear. The Port Loko District Medical Officer- Dr A.A Kamara has summoned a series of Sensitisation meetings with every category of Stakeholders ranging from Peripheral Health Workers to Community Leaders and Traditional Authorities .At one of the most recent meetings of Government Departments, None Government Organisations and other Agencies, the District Medical Officer used the opportunity to outline a brief background of the Maternal and Child Health Week and how it has to be observed in the District for the year under review.
Dr. Kamara said this One Week of National Integrated Maternal and Child Health Campaign was launched in November 2010 and remains the biggest Health Campaign so far in the country. He said Oral Polio Vaccine, Deworming with Albendazole, and Vitamin A Supplementation were administered to Children under the age of 5 years, and that it was climaxed by the Distribution of Integrated Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets to all Households in the Country. He said the principal objective of these Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets is to cover all persons at risk of Malaria adding that the strategy for distribution of these Nets, is a maximum of three per household
On the issue of Ebola, the Port Loko District Medical Officer briefed the gathering that there has been no recorded death or any confirmed case as at that time, even though there is a total number of 38 suspected cases in the country. He disclosed that the disease has claimed about 155 lives in Guinea which has about 231 suspected cases of which 127 has been confirmed, noting that the disease has recorded 11 deaths in Liberia, plus 13 suspected cases out of which 6 is said to have been confirmed of the virus. He therefore urged all to remain very mindful of the dangers of the disease and to adhere to good hygiene practises.
The Port Loko District Malaria Focal Person- Jonathan Ellie said Malaria is a Public Health Problem that is so prevalent in society that it requires the participation of all Stakeholders to have it tackled. He said the State with the help of UNICEF, DFID ,Global Fund and other Partners have intervened so well, that it is now incumbent on the collaborative input of all and sundry to ensure that every Community has access to the facility. The Port Loko District Malaria Focal Person said informed the gathering that there has been a lot of Micro Planning at both District and Community Levels with regards the intervention of Stakeholders in terms of transportation, storage and other aspects in availing the Consignments to the respective distribution points.
Sister Mariama Momoh is the District Health Sister in Port Loko. She spoke on the Task Force that has already been formed and stressed the need for all to ensure that the consignments are utilised for the intended purpose by reaching the targeted beneficiaries. She said the District is comprised of 11 Chiefdoms and is expected to receive 7564 Bales of Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets which is a total of 302, 55o Pieces. The meeting was attended by representatives from Health Alert, D I P, St John of God Catholic [Mabessaneh] Hospital of Lunsar, the Bai Burreh Hospital in Lungi, London Mining Company and several others who assured of their support to the success of the Campaign. Here are a few of the Photos of Dr A A Kamara, and sections of those in attendance to help you see how it went….