The Minister of Health and Sanitation, Prof. Alpha Tejan Wurie has announced that Sierra Leone is progressing steadily in the fight against the high burden of under-nourishment and severe malnutrition.
He made this statement on Tuesday June 25 2019 while formally accepting a 1.5 Million Dollar Intervention by Government of Japan and UNICEF to address critical gaps in the treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).
The Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh witnessed the event that took place at the conference hall of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.
The project targets four ‘high burden’ districts of western area, Port Loko, Bo and Bonthe.
According to the Minister, it is critical to provide the right food and dietary balance to enhance a healthy population.
“Human resource development starts at pregnancy,” the minister said, adding that the cognitive ability of the child is affected if they are malnourished.
The Minister further announced that the government is stepping up preparedness for any health eventuality in the country.
According to Prof. Wurie, products of Sierra Leone will soon be utilised to start the production of therapeutic food for children.
A representative from the directorate of food and nutrition explained through a power-point presentation that the country’s under five mortality rate stands at 111 per 1,000 live births.
Inadequate dietary intake and high burden of diseases like malaria are among the reasons for the mortality rates, she said.
The purpose of the project, according to her, is to contribute immensely towards the reduction of under five mortality.
The UNICEF Country Representative, Dr. Hamid El Bashir Ibrahim expressed appreciation to the Government of Japan for the commitment and support towards children.
Malnutrition, he said, is not just a health issue but equally an economic issue.
“When children are malnourished, it affects their contribution to the GDP in adulthood,” he disclosed.
Malnutrition, he continued, affects the development of the brain.
He applauded the seriousness being demonstrated by the government towards the nation’s health, while describing the 10% national budgetary allocation to health as a step in the right direction.
The Japanese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, H.E Tsutomu Himeno announced that the government and people of Japan are happy to support Sierra Leone as a result of the friendship between the two countries.
He expressed confidence that the intervention would be judiciously utilised.
Source: Abdul Fonti – Communication Strategist (Office of the President)