VP Foh Unwraps 2016 National Health and Nutrition Fair
Freetown, May 4 (SLENA) – Vice President, Ambassador Dr. victor Bockarie Foh last Friday, 29th April 2016 unwrap the 2016 National Health and Nutrition Fair at the Miatta Conference Centre, Brookfields in Freetown. (Photo: Vice President Foh (centre))
Delivering his keynote speech, the Hon. Vice President reiterated that the government of His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma had again made a milestone in the health sector by organizing the first ever Health and Nutrition Fair in the country.
The fair, he said, offered an opportunity to the public to gain awareness of the importance of nutrition, food security and health for all. He said the fair is not just a celebration of nutrition and health; it promotes and celebrates immunization and showcases local endeavours and products in their efforts to end malnutrition which still causes the death of about 50% of children under age five (5).
This historic event, the Vice President said, is a fulfillment of government commitment to the people of this nation; adding that among many other things they are taking the health and human development of the people of this nation very seriously.
Explaining some of the commitments made by the government in addressing the challenges of malnutrition, food and nutrition security, the Hon Vice President said the government has made considerable efforts in tackling those challenges since 2012 when Sierra Leone became a member of the Global Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement by renewing its mandate to the people of this country in the fight against hunger and malnutrition; and to build a well-nourished and prosperous nation.
The Vice president re-affirmed government’s commitment in ensuring that nutrition is at the forefront of the government development agenda.
This, he said, was as a result of their awareness of the fact that proper nutrition is important for every citizen to maintain good health, adding that the underlying causes of infant malnutrition are inadequate access to a balanced and nutritious food, inadequate maternal and child care practices, poor water sanitation and inadequate health services.
He went on to assure the gathering that food and nutrition security is certainly one endeavour that they as a government will pursue without relenting because, as he put it, it is a significant dimension of the economic and human development. “That is why we prioritized food security and nutrition in our Poverty Reduction Strategy Plan – our agenda for prosperity,’’ Vice President Foh emphasized.
He recognized the maximum cooperation the government is receiving from all nutrition related Ministries, Departments and Agencies; the active participation and supports of donor and development partners including the UN Family as well as from in-country non-state actors and institutions.
He thanked the SUN Secretariat, line ministries, development partners, the UN Family and all non-state actors who have worked tirelessly towards making the First Health and Nutrition Fair a memorable and accomplished event.
Giving an overview of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, the National Coordinator, Dr. Mohamed B.K. Foh said the principal objective of the Secretariat was to improve nutrition. The SUN Movement in Sierra Leone, he said, has served proudly to bring government focal points and members of the multi-focal platform together to interact, share progress, learn and to inspire to achieve more.
Dr. Mohamed Foh went on to state that with high political ownership and an enable environment, the SUN Movement in Sierra Leone is making tremendous progress.
The Representative from the Directorate of Food and Nutrition, Madam Aminata Shami Koroma admonished lactating mothers to breast feed their babies on to the age of six (6) months as good nutrition amounts to wealth.
Representing the Donors, the Irish Aid representative said that his organization’s focus on nutrition programmes is to strengthen government and commit a base activity and delivery systems in nutrition with two approaches: priority and funding focuses.
In their priority focus, he said they want to see that at the national policy level nutrition is mainstreamed in agriculture, reason being that food nutrition is not all about nutrition and that there must be a diversification in food and nutrition.
Other meaningful statements were made by the UN Family, Civil Society Platform, among other representatives.
By Alimatu Fofanah, Credit SLENA
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