UNICEF Country Representative in Sierra Leone, Dr. Hamid El-Bashir Ibrahim has revealed that from 1990-2017; Sierra Leone has experienced a significant reduction in under-five child mortality. He says the figures have dropped from 262 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 119 per 1,000 live births in 2017.
He made the statement at the launch of the Sub-National Maternal and Child Health Week popularly known as “Mammie En PikinWelbodi Week” at the CCSL Compound, Kingharman Road.
Dr. Hamid El-Bashir Ibrahim stated that there is need to put more efforts to further reduce child mortality in the country in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The reduction in under 5 child mortality to evidence-based and cost effective immunization interventions like Vitamin A supplementation, De-worming with Albendazole, Measles and Polio Marklate (Vaccine), which have prevented childhood diseases and by extension mortality and morbidity in under-fives, adding that immunization in under 5s prevents childhood illness, disability, and death from preventable diseases such as Measles, Pertussis( whooping Cough),Pneumonia, Polio and Diarrhea, to name but a few.
Dr. Hamid El-Bashir IbrahimUNICEF Country Representative in Sierra Leone
He reiterated that Global Evidence has proven that biannual Vitamin A supplementation can improve immune systems, prevent vitamin A deficiency and reduce child mortality by up to 20-30%
Talking about the benefits of the interventions, Mr. El-Bashir stated that a country like Sierra Leone where many communities remain to be more than an hour’s walk from the nearest health facility, community-based approaches of delivering essential child survival and development interventions through outreaches and campaigns can ensure that all children are benefiting from crucial health and nutrition services, adding that this becomes even more effective when it is complemented by intensified Social Mobilization and Awareness Raising Activities.
He revealed that in April 2018, a Polio campaign integrated with Vitamin A supplementation and de-worming services, organized by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation reached 90% of under-five children with Vitamin A capsule, Deworming Tablets and Polio Vaccine, which he noted as a remarkable achievement.
In his conclusion, the UNICEF Country Representative urged all Social Mobilizers, Vaccinators, and both zonal and district supervisors to continue their work diligently in “Mammie En Pikin Welbodi Week” and continue to inform parents and care givers on the benefits of these interventions, adding that this will ensure that they cover more ground and provide ALL eligible children, mothers and pregnant women with the appropriate interventions.
“Let us leave no stone unturned and leave no mother and children behind” Mr. El-Bashir concluded