December 16, 2016 By Emmanuel Okyne (Intern)
UNICEF Rep Geoff Wiffin addressing the Press
United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Sierra Leone has joined other members around the World to commemorate seventy years of the organization’s existence.
The day was commemorated on a very low key at their New England Ville conference room on Wednesday.
Country Representative of UNICEF Sierra Leone, Geoff Wiffin, said the organization was founded in 1946, after the second World War, to help and bring hope to all children at risk or in need- no matter which country they lived in or what role that country played in the war.
“Our mission is no less urgent and universal today,’’ said the Executive Director of the organization, Anthony Lake.
“With so many children around the World so much need, we are committing ourselves to delivering results for every child.”
The UNICEF representative said the organization was established by the United Nations General Assembly to help children in post –war Europe , China and middle East , noting that it was funded entirely through voluntary contributions from governments, civil society , the private sector and concerned citizens .
He disclosed that UNICEF was operating in more than 90 countries, adding that the organization was the largest children’s organization working with partners in 190 countries and territories and through the efforts of 13,000 national and international staff to reach every child.
Chief Executive Officer of FOCUS 1000, Mohammed Jalloh, said UNICEF was established in Sierra Leone in 1985 and operated with 15 staff, noting that they were grappling with so many challenges.
He said in 1985 only 2 percent of children were being vaccinated, noting that some of them were dying of communicable diseases that could have been prevented.
He further said that they were able to reach 75 percent of immunization target throughout the country, adding that they were able to achieve that through sensitization.
He said they were being challenged that during the inception, only the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service was operating and that that it was not effectively functional.
Jalloh said they were grappling with bad roads, poor electricity at that time to preserve the vaccines.
Communication officer of UNICEF, Issa Davies, said Sierra Leone has made progress in maternal and child health, adding that during the Ebola outbreak, they came in heavily so that they could reduce the chain of the virus.
He said that they were able to provide hygiene facilities to schools in order to make way for the re –opening of school across the country, adding that they had been playing a major role for the immunization of under-five children across the country.