By Alfred Koroma
My health, my rights, my vote – the message from Health Alert as the health advocacy organization urges political leaders to urgently prioritize the health and rights of women, children and adolescents in their political manifestos.
Health Alert is making the call as political parties begin to launch their manifestos ahead of June 2023 general elections.
“This is an opportunity to lay out the most pressing health issues currently faced by demographics that are often forgotten, including child marriage, high rate of teenage pregnancy, high risks from intimate partner violence and abortion, adolescent mental health issues, the organization says, calling on authorities to address inequities across the life course and strengthen health systems to improve maternal, newborn and child health and avert preventable deaths. Healthy and empowered women, children and adolescents, Health Alert says are at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals. “When we invest in women, children and adolescents, we build healthier communities, vibrant economies and more prosperous, peaceful, inclusive and resilient societies.”
Government of Sierra Leone has in the last five years increased the budgetary allocation to the health sector, but the country still falls below the 15 percent Abuja commitment.
Health Alert is therefore urging political parties to consider strengthening the political and financial commitment that meets the 2001 Abuja target. The organization is also urging for speedy prioritization, financing and implementation of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights in national universal health coverage plans.
Prioritize adolescent well-being in national development plans and strategies and implement adolescent well-being policies and programs, Health Alert notes in a press statement put out on Thursday after the health advocacy organization’s one day training of journalists on investigative health reporting on access to COVID19 Vaccines and finance accountability in Sierra Leone.
In its press release, the organization condemns political violence and calls for a peaceful, free and fair election in June.
Health Alert is a policy advocacy and human right organization for women, children, and adolescents and youths in Sierra Leone.