July 6, 2015 By Jariatu S. Bangura
Members of the parliamentary oversight Committee on Social Services last Thursday visited the Teenage Pregnancy Secretariat in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation on the issue of high teenage pregnancy across the country.
Acting chairman of the committee, Hon. Roland F. Kargbo, said for a long time now the committee was unable to visit the secretariat and other departments that they oversee to get firsthand information on the status of teenage pregnancy in the country.
He said a lot of issues were affecting the lives of children and that such needed better attention to know where the committee can be of help in advocating for such challenge if there was any.
Acting Program Manager of School & Adolescent program in the Teenage Pregnant Secretariat, Haja Rugiatu Kanu, welcomed members, noting that the initiative was good considering the fact that they are the people’s representatives and that their support was highly needed in carrying out projects and work.
She said they were working with the ministries of Health, Local Government, Social Welfare, Education and Youth Affairs in achieving most of their goals.
Ms. Kanu said they were currently working with the 2013-2015 National Strategy Plan which has five pillars that are meant to improve policy and legal environment, protection and education services, comprehensive age appropriate information and education, communities, adolescent empowerment to prevent and respond to teenage pregnancy to protect the adolescents.
Madam Kanu explained that there was no funding for the focal committee as they were only depending on donor support, citing Save the Children, UNICEF and CARE.
She noted that the secretariat cannot function properly due to lack of funding and that they lacked the capacity to know the number of teenage pregnancies nationwide, adding that out of the 123 community health centers that are responsible to providing adolescent services, only 6 provide the services.