WAHO engages MoHS to combat maternal mortality in Sierra Leone

West Africa Health Organization (WAHO, and MoH team in Sierra Leone

 By Ibrahim Kabba Turay

After a round table discussion between the Ministry of Health and member states of the West Africa Health Organization (WAHO), the two expressed commitment to combating maternal mortality in the region.

The session took place a week ago at the Bintumani Hotel at Aberdeen in Freetown.

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Clinical Services, Ministry of Health, Dr. Mustapha Kabba, said maternal mortality is high in the member states and cited the Regional Financing Mechanism for Reproductive Health Rights.

“Member states gathered in Sierra Leone to support a specific grant that will look into providing contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancies and also to stop the transmission of diseases,” Dr. Kabba said.

He mentioned that the Government of Sierra Leone has also been providing commodities such as contraceptives and that one of the priorities of the Ministry of Health is to reduce unexpected pregnancies especially in adolescence.

“Which is why we have been providing these commodities in our facilities where people can access them,” he maintained.

Dr. Kabba could not tell the amount that will be coming into Sierra Leone as grant, but strongly believes that it will fill in the gaps that are existing in terms of providing SRH commodities.

In terms of monitoring, the Deputy CMO disclosed that there is a monitoring mechanism that has been put in place through WAHO and the Ministry of Health, adding that a steering committee will also monitor the activities.

He said that there is a work plan to follow specific activities that should be carried out, adding that financial commitment is attached to each of the activities.  “Therefore, we have to monitor whether they are followed through during the annual planning,” he assured.

In the distribution chain, Dr. Kabba could not pinpoint any major challenge but reiterated that they had been distributing these commodities.

“We have a very strong reproductive healthcare unit now in the ministry and which is why we have been able to reduce maternal mortality drastically,” he went on and further assured that they were hopeful to utilize the grant judiciously.

The Director, Planning and Health Information, West African Health Organization (WAHO), Ali Sani, said following the end of the regional meeting, a steering committee has been set up to consider the recommendations from the technical committee.

In terms of what had been achieved, Sani mentioned the provision of reproductive health products to member states, capacity building to improve demand of those products, supporting the supply chain of the member states, behavior change etc.

He said that the meeting looked at the challenges in the implementation of the grant in member states and how those challenges can be addressed as well as the financial management of the program.

According to Sani, WAHO is a specialized institution of the ECOWAS that has the task to improve the healthcare system in the 15 member states.


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