Anthony Kamara Jnr: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 July 2018:
As part of its activities marking the 2018 World Population Day (#WPD2018), the Sierra Leone Country Office of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) yesterday hosted the first of a series of community events in districts with the lowest Contraceptives Prevalence Rates to advocate for family planning.
Kambia has the unenviable record as the district with the highest birth rate in Sierra Leone and maintains the lowest contraceptives prevalence rate of at 5%. The district also has a very high rate of early childhood marriage.
These factors combined makes the district very vulnerable to high maternal mortality and low human development for the girl-child.
The other districts to host UNFPA and its numerous partners are Kono, Koinadugu and Moyamba.
Dr. Kim Eva Dickson, UNFPA Country Representative of the reproductive health and rights agency noted in her remarks that – “an informed rights-based approach to family planning is the most cost-effective intervention for tackling maternal death and illnesses and her office will continue to work with the Ministry of Health to reach women at the last mile.”
In his brief intervention, Hon. Kandeh Yumkella, Parliamentary Leader of the NGC expressed his gratitude to UNFPA, the Ministry of Health under the leadership of Dr. Alpha Wurie, who delivered the keynote address for choosing Kambia as the first community to mark this year’s World Population Day.
“My colleagues in parliament and I commit ourselves to help educate our people about the benefits of family planning and reproductive health,” said Kandeh Yumkella.
Three weeks ago, the Kambia District native visited the UNFPA office seeking strong partnership and collaboration.
Paramount Chief Bai Farma of Kambia who welcomed the ministers and the UN Country Team and all in attendance noted that the district has a lot of problems with land issues among family members because of larger number of siblings in the household.
The Chairman of the District Council also highlighted a lot of problems for young women in the district and assured the UNFPA of the full support of his team.
Other dignitaries in attendance included Mr. Sunil Saigal, who holds concurrent responsibilities as UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Iyabo Masha, IMF Resident Representative, Minister for Political and Public Affairs – Amb. Foday Yumkella and Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Development- Dr. Robert Michael Chakanda.