Japan provides over $2.9 million to prevent and control infectious diseases in Sierra Leone
Targeting under-fives, pregnant women and young mothers nationwide
Freetown 11 February 2009 : The Government of Japan has provided US$ 2.9 million (two million nine hundred thousand United States dollars) for “the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases” in support of effective strategies to reduce child and maternal mortality in Sierra Leone. The project targets children under the age of five years, pregnant women and young mothers in all the thirteen districts in Sierra Leone.
The objective of this funding is to contribute to the Government’s effort to improve maternal and child health through the delivery of an Essential Package of Services that will address some of the major causes of mortality among children and women in Sierra Leone. This will be achieved by providing Long-Lasting Insecticide-treated Nets for malaria prevention to pregnant women and children under the age one; scaling up intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) for pregnant women as well as paediatric care to provide appropriate treatment for children with HIV/AIDS, stepping up immunisation services for children 0- 59 months for vaccine preventable diseases as well as improving antenatal and postnatal care in both referral and peripheral health units. The project will also include a strong behavioural change communication component especially in infant and young child feeding, child care and hygiene promotion.
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation on behalf of the government and people of Sierra Leone is grateful to the Japanese Government for such an invaluable assistance. '' The gesture is supportive of the efforts of our Government and partners in improving the health and survival of our women and children,” mentioned the Minister. “With the support of the Reproductive and Child Health Strategic Plan, in roads have been made in the health care delivery system of our country in helping us combat morbidity and mortality. Efforts such as this have a cumulative effect on the health of our people. Already the latest Demographic Health Survey (DHS) indicates significant inroads on the Under Five and Infant mortality rates which would help us along the way as we strive in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)''.
The Japanese Government’s assistance in the provision of over US$19 million since 1998 has been crucial in supporting the Government of Sierra Leone and its partners in strategically strengthening the link between other programme interventions such as health, education and water and sanitation to collectively address the reduction of child and maternal mortality.
“We believe that this intervention will definitely address the critical needs of children and ultimately impact on the national development of this country” commented Japanese Ambassador Keiichi Katakami who commended UNICEF and the Government of Sierra Leone for their hard work so far.
The Government with support from UNICEF proposes to align strategies and activities to ensure that essential packages reach the vulnerable; women and children. They will be delivered on a large scale by health workers, volunteers, with participation by caregivers, the family and community members at health facilities, community and household levels.
The UNICEF Representative Geert Cappelaere made a strong call for continued and stronger commitment by Government and its partners in addressing Child Survival, as the reduction of Child and maternal mortality are critical if Sierra Leone is going to make any gains at addressing the Millennium Development Goals. “UNICEF is committed to support the Government in every way possible to ensure that every child has access to free health care,” said UNICEF Representative Geert Cappelaere. “If we are to meet the millennium development goals, we must continue to invest in children.”
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