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US$1.2M 170 tons essential drugs to be distributed

November 30, 2015 By Mohamed Massaquoi

A joint release from UNICEF and USAID reveals that healthcare partners will soon embark on a nationwide of Free Healthcare drugs in Sierra Leone.

It is estimated that a total of 170 tons of essential medicines and supplies worth $1.2 million have been procured and airlifted into the country by UNICEF with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

USAID Mission Director for Guinea and Sierra Leone, Ms. Michelle Godette noted with the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone having been officially declared ended, now is the right time to be investing in basic health services to help the country bounce back, particularly those that seek to reduce the extremely high levels of infant and child mortality, adding that the Ebola emergency saw massive investment in promoting government health systems.

“We need to ensure that essential medicines and supplies are available even in the most remote Peripheral Health Units,” she said.

Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Abubakarr Fofanah said he was grateful for the support from development partners as the country needs to concentrate on ending thousands of unnecessary child deaths each year.

Geoff Wiffin, UNICEF Representative to Sierra Leone said: “We believe the Free Healthcare initiative is a key strategy for reducing infant and child deaths in Sierra Leone, something that remains an absolute priority for the government and partners.”

A recent report by the World Health Organisation states that Sierra Leone has one of the highest rates of infant and maternal mortality in the world, with a maternal mortality ratio of 1,165 per 100,000 live births and under five mortality at 156 per 1,000 live births

The agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) saw governments pledge to

end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births.