By Ibrahim Kabba Turay
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation, through the Directorate of Policy, Planning and Information, has interfaced with the Inter-Religious Council and critical Civil Society Organizations on provisions within the Safe Motherhood & Reproductive Healthcare Bill.
The fundamental goal of the Bill revolves around establishing a concrete law that significantly contributes to saving the lives of women through the protection and promotion of their overall sexual and reproductive wellbeing. The existence of this Bill will guarantee significant gains in drastically reducing maternal mortality.
Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, Princess Dugba, told journalists that they decided to engage stakeholders because they saw the need to do so, noting that whatever one does, one needs to engage people who have matters relating to safe motherhood close to their heart to ensure effective collaboration.
“We thought it fit that if we want to move forward as a ministry, and this bill, when drafted, will seek to take care of our mothers, girls and even the men will also benefit because it is a bill that will have very good facilities that will be made available,” she went on.
She said among those facilities are family planning, motherhood, pregnancy, adding that pregnant women will be taken care of and ensure that they have safe delivery.
She also spoke of the government’s plan to protect all and sundry during life stages in order to make Sierra Leoneans healthy citizens and good citizens during their life stages.
The Deputy Minister mentioned that, unlike the previous health care system that only targeted pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five, the proposed bill will also ensure that sexuality education is being taught in schools so that they do not engage in something they have little or no idea of.
“Sometimes when you don’t give them the proper tool and the proper education, they will seek for answers somewhere else and those answers might not be the right answers,” she revealed.
She further stated that the proposed bill will also address issues of early marriages, school dropout and for parents to understand that their children need to go to school and not to force them into marriage.
On the impact which the proposed bill will have on the country and the health sector, she pointed out that the country has one of the highest maternal and mortality rates in the world.
She added that there is a need to reduce the rate of maternal mortality in the country.
During the engagement, the Inter-Religious Council & CSOs made invaluable inputs (taking into account moral and ethical principles) towards the finalization of the document.