To reduce death and maternal mortality rates in the country, the first lady Mrs Sia Koroma has launched the third round of the national tetanus marklate campaign 2007.
Yesterday at the Victoria Park in Freetown, the first lady administered the tetanus marklate to two women who were part of a large crowd present at the launching.
Mrs Koroma pointed out that she cared for the wellbeing of women and children in the country, adding that this was to stop the premature and untimely death of women and children.
She added that, “we as medical people in the nursing world are saying that tetanus is not a story but a reality and anybody can have it”.
The first lady noted that, “the marklate is for women from the ages of 15- 49 years and new born babies who are being given vitamin A, especially those who are in the first weeks of child birth”.
She explained that donors were joining hands to reduce the high rate of child and maternal mortality rates in the country.
Mrs Koroma noted that if the health of women and children was improved it would show that the government was working for sustainable health for all.
The minister of health and sanitation, Dr Saccoh Kabia, echoed that government was determined to turn the health system around so that people would live longer
He added that, “if you are healthy you will contribute to the welfare of the country and your family”.
Dr Kabia thanked the first lady for gracing the occasion and for her concern for the health of women and children.
In her statement, Dr Felicitas Zawaira, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative congratulated the minister of health for the determination in ensuring that child survival was essential in the national health development agenda.
She added that the objectives of the integrated child survival campaign was to provide a package of cost intervention to improve child survival, growth and development with the soul aim of reducing Sierra Leone’s high maternal infant and child mortality rate.
The WHO representative noted that, “it is estimated that worldwide 15,000 neonatal deaths can be prevented annually because of immunization”.
She disclosed that 42 countries had developed plans for the elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus, while 40 countries including Sierra Leone were conducting supplementary immunization activities since 1999.
“It is expected that the three rounds will give protection for five years, and for life long protection a woman needs a total of five doses and the fourth and fifth doses should be taken yearly after the third dose from the normal health facility”, she explained.
Dr Zawaira intimated that, “every three years round the ministry of health and sanitation and its partners will deliver an integrated package of vitamin A supplementation to all children aged from 6 to 59months”.
She assured the gathering that the United Nations (UN) system in Sierra Leone was committed to support the government of Sierra Leone’s development efforts, especially those directed towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)