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“Abortion is a leading cause of death for young women between the ages of 15-24 years in Sierra Leone”. Val Tucker of IPAS made this statement at a ceremony organized at their Edward Street office, Freetown in collaboration with the National Youth Coalition in a communiqué signed on Tuesday July 24, regarding the abolition of unsafe abortion and how the 1861 Abortion Law should be reviewed.
She said reproductive and sexual health information and services are critically important to women, particularly young women in Sierra Leone, adding that the communiqué is signed in support of the entrenchment of the 1861 Person’s Act Section 58 and 59 offenses, the said Act which criminalises unsafe abortion under law.
Val Tucker said the communiqué was signed to ensure that reproductive health issue is made a priority in the agenda for prosperity and to see to it that young people are included in the planning, monitoring and implementation stages of the reproductive health programming in the country. She furthered that they are advocating for the reproductive health program to be integrated with HIV and STI prevention and treatment programming coupled with the reintroduced of family life education in the schools syllabus and by making the issue of family planning and reproductive health services a success and accessible and free at all levels.
She appealed to partners to take action that would protect lives and well-being of all Sierra Leoneans, adding that quality reproductive healthcare is one, which includes sex-education, access to family planning services, safe abortion care, pre-and postnatal care amongst other things. Val noted that nearly 25 percent of women in the country (DHS, 2008) have unmet needs for modern contraceptives, adding that in most areas, women in the ages of 15-19 are twice as likely to have an unmet need for contraception as compare to those who are married.
In his statement Ishmael Al Sankoh Conteh who spoke on behalf of the National Youth Coalition said they have been traveling to the provinces to sensitize the youths on reproductive issues as they have purposed trainings to be able to tally the number of youthful that are suffering under the burning issues of reproductive health.
Ishmael said most young persons suffer because they lack the basic knowledge of family life education, which is also not commonplace in the school syllabuses anymore.
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