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PRESS RELEASE MOHS Stance on the Recent Amnesty Report
Sep 25, 2009, 17:00
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MOHS Stance on the Recent Amnesty Report

Freetown, Sept 23, 09. (MOHS) The Ministry of Health and Sanitation views the recent Amnesty International Report on the countrys maternal mortality as unreasonable and not helpful considering the strides government has been making in reducing the high incidence of maternal deaths in the country.

Most of the factors in the Amnesty report are direct consequences of poverty and criticizes us for being poor.

The cost of the health care is a barrier to women accessing care, and the Ministry is working with development partners to tackle this issue, while plans are currently underway for the removal of fees for pregnant women and children under five years.

Our international donors are already supporting the Ministrys Reproductive and Child Health Programme, hoping that Amnesty might also endeavor to make practical contribution to this very important work, as we also appreciate the intervention in highlighting an issue that has long been a priority for this government.

The Government recognizes that health outcomes need to improve, and made it central in its Agenda for Change. The Reproductive and Child Health Care is also a top priority in the Ministrys Action Plan.

The implementation of the Reproductive and Child Health Care Strategy has commenced with UNICEF and DFID funded district operational plans. In addition, the Basic Package of essential health service which sets minimum standard in facilities, staff and drugs, will ensure that everyone who visits clinics will receive quality health care.

There has already been a maternal improvement in health outcomes. Maternal mortality has fallen by over a third in the last three years, and we are confident that health outcomes will continue to improve and maternal under five, and infant mortality rates would be reduced by 30 percent over the next three years. The recent Demographic Health Survey has shown a decline from 1300 deaths per 100, 000 in 2005 to 857 deaths per 100, 000 in 2008.

There is a mark of improvement and the Ministry is poised to maintain standards.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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