Ministry of Health launches child survival action plan

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Minister Demby and partners posed for photo

By Mohamed J Kargbo

The Ministry of Health has officially launched the Child Survival Action Plan on Monday, February 26th, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation conference hall in Freetown.

The initiative is a critical component of the revised 2017-2025 Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health and Nutrition Strategy, aiming to end preventable child deaths in Sierra Leone.

Addressing the gathering, Health Minister Austin Demby highlighted the significance of the event as a pivotal moment in the nation’s history.

He emphasized the need to reject complacency and renew the commitment to safeguarding children’s lives through evidence-based interventions.

Minister Demby stressed that child health is integral to Sierra Leone’s development goals and represents a collective responsibility to ensure the well-being of the nation’s future.

“Under President Julius Maada Bio’s leadership, improving healthcare stands is a cornerstone of the national agenda for human capital development,” Minister Demby said.

He expressed pride in the Ministry’s unwavering commitment to accelerating actions to improve child health. He mentioned collaboration with counterparts from seven African nations and international development partners at the 75th World Health Assembly to initiate immediate measures aimed at halting preventable child deaths.

Rudolf Schwenk, a UNICEF representative, acknowledged Sierra Leone’s progress in reducing maternal and child mortality rates. He cited effective policies providing free access to primary healthcare and increased health financing.

Over the past three decades, the under-five mortality rate has fallen by 60 percent, with a remarkable 36 percent reduction in recent years.

Schwenk highlighted the National Child Survival Action Plan, developed in collaboration with multiple stakeholders, as a roadmap to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) which target 25 or fewer deaths of children under five per 1,000 live births by 2030.

He said UNICEF called for a renewed commitment to child survival and stronger collaboration from all stakeholders to operationalize the Sierra Leone Action Plan and accelerate progress towards achieving universal health coverage.

Amadu Jalloh, CEO of Focus 1000, speaking on behalf of civil society organizations (CSOs), commended the Ministry of Health and partners for the progress made in bringing down maternal deaths.

He pledged CSO support to the Ministry in addressing child mortality.  

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