Save the Children UK, UNICEF and office of the First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone Sia Nyama Koroma have promised to support child survival in so as to minimize the high infant and child mortality rates in Sierra Leone.
Speaking on the theme Working Together for Child Survival at the Miatta Conference Hall in Freetown in observance of the Day of the African Child the Country Director for Save the Children UK in Sierra Leone Dieneke Van Der Wijk said it is sad to see children die of preventable diseases.
She pointed out that Children should see the day of the African Child as a day of reflection and those adults present should also learn from children and promote child survival in Sierra Leone for a generation of healthy future leaders.
She also expressed grave concern over the alarming rate of infant deaths noting that Sierra Leone is on record of having the highest infant and child mortality rate around the world and that she was appalled by the deaths of 192 children daily.
The Country Director further highlighted some of the challenges in health care delivery citing the lack of trained and qualified medical doctors, inadequate health centers and drugs which she said have largely and inseparably been responsible for the high death rate.
She added that some of the challenges are compounding the situation for the already poverty stricken families, and as a result most children have not been able to access health care delivery and that extra charges for seeing a doctor and exorbitant medical bills have also helped to compound the situation.
She called on the Government and relevant stakeholders to support child survival and also promote the welfare of children for the future development of responsible and healthy citizens. She expressed thanks and appreciation to the Government and relevant Child Welfare organization for making the day of the African Child a success in Sierra Leone.
Concluding her statement the Country Director for Save the Children UK in Sierra Leone Dieneke Van Der Wijk said her organization will soon launch a campaign for New Born and child survival around the world so as to support the welfare of children.
The ceremony attracted Government Ministries, NGO’s and school going children, the Chairman of the ceremony who doubles as the Permanent Secretary for the Social Welfare Ministry Joe Wellington used the occasion to call for partnership to improve health care delivery for children with an improved access to education, food and shelter.
Jeneh Kandeh Deputy Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs expressed gratitude to Save the Children, UNICEF and relevant child welfare organizations for their support commitment and determination to uplift the welfare of children to a better standard of living.
President of a child Advocacy organization Master Sulaiman Musa of the Children’s Forum Network called on relevant stakeholders for their continued support towards their children because it is great to invest in children for the future development of the country.
UNICEF representative Geert Carpellaere also made meaningful contribution at the ceremony. He intimated that the Canadian Government has provided ($5M) five million dollars towards to help women and children in remote areas access health care delivery.
The Country Director for Plan Sierra Leone Madam Fadimate Alainchar also pledged her organization’s continuous support in providing water and sanitation, distant learning for primary school teachers, nutrition for children in schools and host of programmes supporting the protection and welfare of children.
Sheku Tejan Koroma Minister of Health and Sanitation and Dr. Soccoh Kabia Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs delivered policy statements on health and social welfare while the First Lady Sia Nyama Koroma delivered the key note address and concluded by promising to construct a hospital and school with funds from Gaddafi of Libya.