Freetown, Nov. 27, 2015 (MOHS) – The Fifth Round and 14th Session of the Bi-annual Maternal and Child Health Week (MCHW) commonly known as the “Mami En Pikin Welbodi Week” has been launched in Kambia northern Sierra Leone.
Launching the MCH Week on the theme: “Healthy Families, Healthy Future”, the Director of Health Systems, Planning, Policy and Information, Dr. Samuel Kargbo on behalf of the Ministry thanked health workers and development partners for their efforts in the fight to contain the Ebola virus disease and to maintain zero infection.
He said as part of the country’s efforts to improve access to essential maternal and child health services, five rounds of nationwide supplementary immunization activities targeting children 0-5 years and pregnant women were planned in 2015, and four of these campaigns have been successfully executed.
Dr. Samuel Kargbo told his audience that the above campaigns are part of the Free Health Care Initiative to promote the health of the women and children and reduce the high morbidity and mortality among children and women in Sierra Leone.
He informed his audience that the campaign catalogued the introduction of measles second dose into routine immunization services for children aged 15-23 months, adding that during this period, other routing vaccines for defaulters up to 23 months of age, Vitamin A capsules, and deworming tablets will be provided.
Dr. Kargbo disclosed that the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and partners are using this campaign as another platform to provide essential health services and to regain public confidence in the health system. He urged all Sierra Leoneans to take advantage of this campaign and ensure that all children under five years and pregnant women benefit from this very important intervention. He assured all Sierra Leoneans of the Ministry’s commitment to promote the wellbeing of women and children.
Speaking on behalf of the UN family, the UNICEF Representative, Geoff Wiffin commended President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and people of Sierra Leone for the successful efforts to end the Ebola virus diease outbreak in the country, adding that the United Nations System in Sierra Leone is proud to be part of the bi-annual effort that is being led by the Ministry of Health to ensure delivery of high impact life-saving interventions to children below 59 months and pregnant women in Sierra Leone is successfully implemented.
Geoff Wiffin informed his audience that during the campaign, an estimated 1.3 million children under five years of age will be provided with Vitamin A supplementation and deworming tablets.
Giving an overview of the campaign, the Director of Reproductive and Child Health, Dr. Santigie Sesay said the campaign aimed at achieving at least 95 percent coverage for specific interventions.
Nutrition Coordinator, Helen Keller International, Hamid Turay noted that the maternal and child health week has helped combat diseases in children and reduce infant mortality death in children under five.
He said Helen Keller International has been working with the Ministry of Health to ensure that all children under five get free Vitamin A and deworming tablet, and also Vitamin A as they reach six months.
The District Medical Officer, Kambia, Dr. Foday Sesay said the launch of the campaign in Kambia is an opportunity has a tendency to organized good programmes good interventions and the community to take the intervention well.
He said the launching will bring awareness for the people in the various communities to take the message round to ensure that all children under five years received the vaccines.
Other speakers include the District Medical Officer, Dr. Foday Sesay, Deputy Chairman, Kambia District Council, Mr. Foday Bangura, and the Director, Community Action for the Welfare of Children (CAWeC), Abdul Sankoh.
Highlights of the ceremony include administering of the vaccines and a conducted tour of the Health Fair booths.
The ceremony was chaired by the Director of Primary Health Care, Dr. Joseph Kandeh.