UNICEF Regional Director hails the steady progress made in health and education in Sierra Leone
Freetown, Sierra Leone, 17 July 2009 – Almost eight years after the end of the civil conflict, the new UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Dr Gianfranco Rotigliano visited Sierra Leone from 14th and 17th July 2009.
During his three days visit, Dr Gianfranco Rotigliano met with Sierra Leone’s President His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma key government ministers including Health and Sanitation, Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Finance and Economic Development and Education, Youths and Sports.
He also met with members of Parliament as well as a cross section of civil society organizations and development partners.
Dr. Rotigliano also made a field trip to Kono District in eastern Sierra Leone, one of the districts most affected by the civil conflict, where he visited a school where he met with mother clubs who promote girls education and of the children’s parliament.
In order to get first hand information on the maternal and child health issues confronting women and children in Sierra Leone, the Regional Director also visited a peripheral health unit, as well as the Kono Maternity Hospital that was funded by the Italian National Committee of UNICEF.
This maternity facility includes antenatal and postnatal wards, post operative and eclamptic wards, an operating theatre, a laboratory and a pharmacy.
A borehole for the supply of water has also been provided with functioning solar power.
The maternity unit incorporates a baby-friendly initiative that encourages immediate breastfeeding after delivery and also facilitates the training of midwives, skilled birth attendants, maternal and child health aides.
“It is indeed gratifying to see the steady progress made especially in the health and education sectors as well as the demonstrated commitment and political of the government in meeting the many challenges.
The Agenda for Change development plan provides a clear direction for peace consolidation and development in Sierra Leone as well as portrays an effective balance between human development and economic growth’ said Rotigliano.
“Yet challenges remain; investment in establishing and maintaining effective structures and systems to ensure quality education, a protective environment for every child and keeping child survival and development as a critical component of the development agenda will be crucial to the future of this country.” Rotigliano concluded.