The Minister of Health and Sanitation Miatta Kargbo has said that teenage pregnancy is a huge problem and reiterated government’s commitment in addressing the menace countrywide, making it a priority within the framework of a broader strategic plan.
She made this statement during a courtesy call on her by an Islamic Development Bank (IDB) visiting team for Obstetric Fistula headed by the Head of HaiKal Organization, Haja Hawa Turay.
The Minister of Health and Sanitation underscored the importance of engaging Line Ministries, Non Governmental Organizations and health development partners to prioritize fistula and establish regional centre.
Kargbo lauded the intervention of IDB in their fight to promote maternal health and appealed for more support in other key areas of priority adding that the government will soon sign a strategic Document for the social and economic women’s empowerment, making informed decisions that would collaborate efforts towards achieving the agenda for prosperity.
Representative from Haikal Organization, a local NGO working on health and formal and non formal education, Haja Hawa Turay said since 2010, they have been raising awareness on fistula in concert with the Health Ministry, stressing the need for the establishment of a fistula centre that would cover hard-to-reach areas.
She said that most of the fistula cases are from the Koinadugu district and advocated for the training of more doctors with surgical skills on fistula, describing the meeting with the Minister and other officials as a good start.
The IDB Gender-NGO Division Capacity Development Department Specialist Kristonia Lockhart said their priorities are outlined on capacity development, health and education, adding that they have also strengthened capacity of member countries in building a sound financial, surgery and technical support bringing countries to help each other.
Lockhart spoke on their new vision of gender equality and the formation of an Action Programme with Sierra Leone being a beneficiary country.