Japan provides US$2.9 million in Sierra Leone

Friday, February 13, 2009

Targeting under-fives, pregnant women and young mothers nationwide

The Government of Japan provided US$ 2.9 million for “the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases” in support of effective strategies to reduce child and maternal mortality in Sierra Leone. The project is directed towards children under the age of five years, pregnant women and young mothers in all the thirteen districts in Sierra Leone.

The objective of this funding is to contribute to the Government’s effort to improve maternal and child health through the delivery of an Essential Package of Services. Along with delivering essential supplies the project will also include a strong behavioural change communication component especially in infant and young child feeding, child care and hygiene promotion to address some of the major causes of mortality among children and women in Sierra Leone.

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation on behalf of the government and people of Sierra Leone is grateful to the Japanese Government for such invaluable assistance. '' The gesture is supportive of the efforts of our Government and partners in improving the health and survival of our women and children,” said Dr. Soccoh Kabia, Minister of Health and Sanitation.. “With the support of the Reproductive and Child Health Strategic Plan, in roads have been made in the health care delivery system of our country in helping us combat morbidity and mortality. Efforts such as this have a cumulative effect on the health of our people. Already the latest Demographic Health Survey (DHS) indicates significant inroads on the Under Five and Infant mortality rates which would help us along the way as we strive in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)'' he added.

The Japanese Government’s assistance in the provision of over US$19 million since 1998 has been crucial in supporting the Government of Sierra Leone and its partners in strategically strengthening the link between other programme interventions such as health, education and water and sanitation to collectively address the reduction of child and maternal mortality.

“We believe that this intervention will definitely address the critical needs of children and ultimately impact on the national development of this country, ” said Japanese Ambassador Keiichi Katakami who commended UNICEF and the Government of Sierra Leone for their hard work so far.

The Government, with support from UNICEF, proposes to align strategies and activities to ensure that essential packages reach vulnerable women and children. They will be delivered on a large scale by health workers, volunteers, with participation by caregivers, the family and community members at health facilities, community and household levels.

UNICEF Representative Geert Cappelaere said, “UNICEF is committed to support the Government in every way possible to ensure that every child has access to free health care,” said UNICEF Representative Geert Cappelaere. “If we are to meet the millennium development goals, we must continue to invest in children.”