National Secretariat for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy Concludes Stakeholders Meeting on Impact of Ebola on Teenage Girls

Freetown, June 18, 2015 (SLENA) – The Director of the Reproductive and Child Health Programme, Ministry of Health and Sanitation Dr. Santigie Sesay has said that the Ebola outbreak has had adverse negative impact on the education of teenage girls due to the closure of schools and other factors.

chiCross section of the participants drawn from Education, Social Welfare, Local Government and Health Ministries, UNFPA, and teachers and pupils from pilot secondary schools

Addressing a two day stakeholders consultative meeting organized by the National Secretariat for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy on the Impact of Ebola on Teenage girls at the National Stadium Atlantic Hall in Freetown, Dr. Sesay said the history of the Ebola virus disease outbreak in the country also had negative impact of people accessing health facilities because of fear, misconception and false rumours. Health workers including doctors and nurses lost their lives, adding that institutional delivery was also a problem, resulting to some women giving birth at home.

chi1Director of Reproductive and Child Health, Dr. Santigie Sesay making his address

Dilating on public health issues, Dr. Sesay reiterated the importance of infection prevention noting that most of the diseases and deaths related to these diseases could be prevented.

He encouraged adolescent and teenagers to take necessary precautionary measures against early marriage, teenage pregnancy and illegal abortion that would lead to death or serious complication.

Giving the objective of the workshop, Acting Programme Manager, National School Health and Adolescents Programme and National Coordinator for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy, Sister Rugiatu Kanu said the event aimed at updating the knowledge of stakeholders on key activities of programme intervention; develop community engagement work plans to address problems identified and contributions required by the Secretariat.

chi2Ag. Programme Manager, National School Health and Adolescents Programme/National Coordinator, Secretariat for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy, Sr. Rugiatu Kanu

She underscored the importance of the stakeholders meeting, adding that the objectives of the meeting also aimed to discussing and identify what she referred to as deep rooted causes of teenage pregnancy and its impact on the individual, families and communities among other key objectives.

Gender Affairs Director, Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Mr. Charles Vandi noted the long delay of the consultative meeting but optimistic that the event would make a head way for the reduction of teenage pregnancy.

chi3Director of Gender Affairs, Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs, Mr. Charles Vandi making his remarks

He told his audience that the sexual offences ACT championed by the Social Welfare Ministry states that nobody should involve in sexual activity with a girl below 18 years and warned against such illegal act.

Mr. Vandi spoke about a research work with Plan Sierra Leone, Oxfam and other institutions and the districts affected with high increase of pregnant teenagers including Kabala. The collaboration with the Health and sanitation Ministry, UNFPA and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in the fight against teenage pregnancy, Mr. Vandi said, is very resourceful.

He reiterated the need for Traditional Birth Attendants to work with skilled birth attendants in Peripheral Health Units across the country to avert complications and deaths due to home delivery, hoping that participants would use the outcome of the stakeholders meeting for the desired effect.

Recommendations from participants on wide ranging key issues formed high point of the meeting which aimed at reducing teenage pregnancy in the country to a satisfactory level.

JAK/KK/MOHS/SLENA