Government reaffirms its commitment to improving the lives of all Sierra Leoneans
(MoPED Press Office Freetown: Thursday 11th July, 2019, A.K.)
The Government of Sierra Leone under the leadership of H.E. Dr. Julius Maada Bio has on the 11th July, 2019 joined other countries to celebrate World Population Day with a commitment to improve the lives of all citizens by delivering on the promise of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo, Egypt in 1994.
This commitment was put forward by Hon Dr. Robert Chakanda, Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Development at a Government Press Briefing organized by the Ministry of Information and Communications in Freetown.
As part of the global consensus in this year’s celebration, Hon. Dr Chakanda said the 25th anniversary of the ICPD is a milestone in sexual reproductive health and rights. He expressed the commitment of Government to the consensus that reproductive health and rights are human rights that precondition women’s empowerment and equality that precipitate the well-being and prosperity of all citizens.
He further affirmed that as part of the global consensus, Government is committed to accelerating the promise of the ICPD, consistent with the global theme for the 2019 World Population Day; “25 years of the ICPD: accelerating the promise”.
On behalf government, Hon Dr. Robert Chakanda reiterated government commitment to the upcoming Nairobi Conference and promise to prioritize the improvement of the living condition of the most vulnerable citizens. He said that the New Direction agenda of the President, Dr. Julius Maada Bio dedicates the initial months of his administration to develop a people-centred Mid-Term National Development Plan informed by inclusive and participatory processes, through the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MoPED). He said his Ministry reviewed the 2018 National Population Policy to align it to the National development agenda which, he said will be officially launched by government the following month.
These two documents, he reiterates, are the Government’s response to addressing population issues in our country. In view of this, our theme for this year’s World Population Day is in sync with our National Population Policy which is “Improving the Quality of Lives of Sierra Leoneans”. Government honors the support of our development partners on this day and calls on all partners dedicated to improving the quality of life of Sierra Leoneans, to partner with local stakeholders and build programmatic convergences to enhance growth and human capital development, improve population planning and management, address our population dynamics and expand reproductive health and rights.
The Hon. Deputy Minister noted that the thrust of the New Direction of H.E. President Dr Julius Maada Bio is increasing access of the population (particularly mothers, children and the elderly) to quality health services in an equitable and efficient manner and always remains committed in its focus on (i) health governance; (ii) health financing; (iii) human resource; (iv) free health care; (v) disease prevention and control (vi) service delivery.
The Deputy Minister further expressed the pro-activeness of government in collaboration with UNFPA and other development partners in addressing the population challenges. He pointed out the collaborative objectives of government and partners in achieving the following;
- Provision of high-level participation of Government, and political reaffirmation of ICPD.
- Ensuring concrete commitments in support of its implementation at the Nairobi Summit.
- Raising local awareness of and support for ICPD; the ICPD25 anniversary, and the Nairobi Summit within Government and among partners, stakeholders, and the general public.
‘’As we mark World Population Day and the 25th anniversary of ICPD, our Government wishes to renew its commitment to improve the lives of all Sierra Leoneans, leaving no one behind, through the numerous social security and human development programmes in partnership with all community stakeholders, development partners, civil society organizations. Subsequently, he emphased, Government invites all to take stock and reflect on our achievements and challenges so far in achieving our national theme, ‘Improving the Quality of Lives of Sierra Leoneans’,’’ Dr. Chakanda further explained.
He disclosed that Sierra Leone has made remarkable gains in collaboration with development partners in keeping to the Cairo pledge, which is evidence in the under mentioned;
- The maternal mortality ratio decreased from 2,630 (1990) to 1,360 (2015).
- The total fertility rate has decreased from 5.1 (2008) to 4.9 (2013).
- Adolescent fertility rate decreased from 146/1000 women aged 15-19 years to 125/1000 women in 2013
- The adolescent child bearing has decreased from 34 per cent in women aged 15-19 years (2008) to 28 per cent (2013).
Real reproductive choices have become a reality for more and more women, as they make their individual choice to have smaller families. More women in Sierra Leone have gained the power to make decisions about their own bodies, including whether, when, how often and with whom to become pregnant. This has been instrumental to moving Sierra Leone towards greater gender equality.
Dr. Chakanda said these considerable national gains has been coordinated by the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development
To mark the day, the Executive Director of UNFPA, Dr. Natalia Kanem, called on governments, civil society, communities and people from all sectors and walks of life, to be bold and courageous, to do what is right for women and girls around the world. She made this call to make real the possibilities that come with completing the unfinished business of Cairo. She asked Governments to usher in a world where promises made are promises kept, and reproductive rights and choices are a reality for all. She concluded with an invitation to come together in the Nairobi conference and move beyond with concrete commitments and far more resources to complete the journey we began 25 years ago.