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Deputy Health Minister commends SARHA

Deputy Health Minister commends SARHA

The Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, Mohamed Daudis Koroma has pledged his ministry’s support to a group of journalists who have formed a media advocacy group named Sexual and Reproductive Health Advocates, SARHA for short which came into being through the support of PPASL.

Delivering his keynote speech at the launching ceremony which took place at the Conference Hall of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists SLAJ, Wednesday 23rd June 2010, Mr. Koroma commended SARHA for their noble initiative, noting that the move could not have come at a more appropriate time than now when the Free Health initiative is in top gear.

He urged members to be steadfast in their determination to help promote the health sector, saying that Sierra Leone over the years has been rated the least in the world as reflected in the annual Human Development Index report.

“But with the timely intervention of this government we have launched the Free Health Care program which is salvaging the untimely death of our lactating mothers, children under five and pregnant women,” he maintained.

He said sexual violence and the high incidence of maternal mortality remain major challenges in his ministry. He therefore called on SARHA to partner with his ministry in order to provide vital information on these key areas.

“I will give you all my support to ensure that you achieve your objective,” the deputy minister assured.

While giving a perspective of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) Charter, the Behavioral and Communication Manager of the Planned Parenthood Association-Sierra Leone (PPASL), Mr. Brima Kamara said every individual has the right to information and be educated on sexual and reproductive health issues and outlined the twelve rights any man is entitled to including the fundamental one which is the right to life.

He also took his time to explain the international instruments that guarantee and protect these rights, adding that governments have obligation to ensure that these rights are respected.

Mr. Kamara further noted that the role of the media is very crucial in promoting these rights the reason for the formation of SARHA. He urged members not to only work with PPASL to achieve this objective but should engage other reproductive health agencies with the overall goal to promote the country’s health sector.

Other speakers at the launch included the Chairman of PPASL Advocacy Committee, Mr. Denis Streeter who formally launched the new group.

Also to deliver statements were representative of Amnesty International Sierra Leone Chapter and the Secretary General of SLAJ, Mr. Mustapha Sesay who deputized the President, Mr. Umaru Fofanah. 

Representatives from other media organizations such as WIMSAL and Reporters Union also made statements.

Earlier in his opening remarks as Chairman of the occasion, former Secretary General of SLAJ, Ibrahim Karim-Sei described SARHA as a determined group of young professionals who saw the need to partner with PPASL in order to collect and disseminate vital information on reproductive health issues across the country.

He urged all and sundry to support SARHA’s initiative.    

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