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Kailahun, July 19 (SLENA) – Family Planning Week on the theme: “The March for Choice – Children by Choice, Not by Chance” has been launched in Kailahun in the eastern region of Sierra Leone.
The March for Choice commenced with a march-pass from the Kailahun Government Hospital through the District Council to the Kailahun Court Barray.
Launching the Family Planning Week, the District Medical Officer, Kailahun Government Hospital, Dr. David Bome, commended UNFPA, Haikal Organization, Marie Stopes and other stakeholders as their presence was a clear indication of their commitment to the people of Kailahun.
He said Family Planning is a method of planning families and the only way to reduce teenage and unwanted pregnancies, fistula and abortion, noting that Fistula is caused through unsafe delivery.
Dr. Bome said there are 78 clinics in Kailahun and two referrals hospitals and urged people to make use of the facilities, free of cost for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five. He appealed for condom use to prevent them from contacting HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases like Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STIs).
UNFPA Programme Coordinator, Philippe Lust-Bianchi, on behalf of the Country Representative, Madam Ndlouv, said the launching was to ensure that the community gets access to family planning because having too many children too early, too quickly is dangerous for mothers, communities and the nation.
He said access to family planning saves lives, adding that if they achieve it to bridge the gap between demand and supply for family planning, the number of women dying during pregnancy or childbirth would be reduced by one-third.
The Programme Coordinator stated that family planning would allow reducing unintended pregnancies by 75 percent, which means that 50 percent of unsafe abortions every year could be avoided, noting that having fewer, healthier children also reduces the economic burden on poor families and allows them to invest more in each child’s care and schooling. He added that family planning will help to break the cycle of poverty and improves the prosperity of families, communities and nations.
Philippe Lust-Bianchi reiterated that investing in family planning enables faster economic growth in nation and disclosed that UNFPA will continue to support the work of the health workers and the District Health Medical Team (DHMT) in Kailahun.
SNAP Executive Director, Madam Elizabeth Benga-De said SNAP is committed in supporting the DHMT in the fight against family planning.
The Executive Director, Haikal Organisation, Haja Hawa Turay Sesay, said the set of people they are targeting in the family planning programme are pregnant women who are expecting deliveries
The Matron, Kailahun Government Hospital, Matron Margaret Baihinga, said any country without education is an undeveloped nation and urged all children to go for education and women to adopt family planning.
Giving an overview of family planning, the Regional Manager, South/south East, Marie Stopes Sierra Leone, Yembeh Marah, said the issue of family planning is everybody’s concern and recalled that before now family planning in Sierra Leone was only 4% but that it has now risen to 7% national contraceptive prevalence.
He said one of the challenges of service delivery in Kailahun is that people in the township are not utilizing family planning and that has created concern in the district.
The Deputy Chairman, Kailahun District Council, Nelson Lahai, commended UNFPA for bringing family planning in Kailahun, adding that the council is always working with the DHMT and other stakeholders in promoting family planning in the district.
Demonstration of family planning activities climaxed the launching.
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