From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, TBAs Ends Outreach Campaign in Bombali District
By Mohamed Kabba
Nov 17, 2010, 17:00

Supported by the UNFPA, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Childrens Affair (MSWGCA), Bombali District Community Advocacy Groups on Saturday 13th November 2010 ended their chiefdoms sensitization campaign targeting six sections in each of the thirteen (13) Chiefdoms in Bombali District.

 

It could be recalled that in September this year, UNFPA, through the Northern Region Office of the MSWGCA conducted training in Makeni city which attracted traditional birth attendants in thirteen chiefdoms in the Bombali District.

 

Karina Chief handing over items to TBA.

 

The training was aimed at discouraging TBAs from undertaking home delivering, which according to the Gender and Advocacy Manager, Mrs. Isatu Kajue, was one of the major causes of maternal death.

 

After the training, UNFPA provided them with supporting kits for the implementation of their campaign which including torchlights, CD/tape player, batteries, megaphones and other valuable items.

 

Among the TBAs planning meeting was stakeholders meeting and community outreach sensitization.


The TBAs, nurses and their partners have embarked on community outreach sensitization programmes in order to keep the locals abreast with the risks involved in home delivery, gender based violence, HIV/AIDS, and teenage pregnancy.


Fintonia Town - Thambakha Chiefdom

 

On the 3rd November 2010 at Fintonia Town, Section Chief, Pa Alimamy Bockarie Kamara, described UNFPA as the health champion, stating that any organization that prioritizes the health of women and children is worth complementing.


He called on the chiefdom people to join hands with the UNFPAs TBA advocacy campaign in a bid to reduce maternal mortality rate, GBV and HIV/AIDS.


The TBAs, during their sensitization drives, advised parents to stop giving young girls food to trade as most time men took advantage over their situation.

 

The Thambakha Chiefdom Advocacy group pleaded with men to stop forcing their women to sex, stop depriving girls of food, which according to them, has been another cause for prostitution.


They called on their chief to formulate stringent laws to tackle the aforementioned occurrences against women and children.


The TBAs pleaded with their colleagues to stop home delivering, noting that they are expected to serve as watchdogs.


They also urge the locals to always endeavor to report all violence to the chief.

 

The elders and youth of Fintonia pleaded with the government through UNFPA to help them with police post for the enforcement of law and order so that perpetrators will face justice.

 

The also appealed with birth waiting rooms, and good road network.


Demonstration on the use of both male and female condoms, and skits from We Yone Community Theatre and Drama Group, climaxed the occasion.


Kamalo- Sanda Loko Chiefdom

 

On the 4th November 2010 at Kamalo, the acting Paramount Chief of the Chiefdom, Pa Kumbra Bai Kamara, who was among the 28 Paramount Chiefs of Bo and Bombali Districts that benefited from the UNFPA training, encouraged his subjects to take the campaign door-to-door to put their chiefdom number one in the UNFPA MMR and GBV campaign list.

 

He stated that they, as paramount chiefs are going to judiciously utilize the knowledge that the UNFPA has impacted on them for the success of the campaign.

 

Skits on MMR and GBV.

 

Pa Kumbra Bai extended his appreciation to UNFPA for the training, stating that, at first when the program went to their chiefdom, he was of the notion that it was designed to separate their families. But I know have ca different idea all together after the Bo training. And that idea is that the need for men to put hands on deck with women for national development cannot be overstressed, he said.

 

He used the forum as an opportunity to pledge his total commit and support to the success of the programme.

 

TBA demostrating how to use female condom.

 

The TBAs called on their colleagues and stakeholders to embrace the program in order to ensure that no woman die during child delivery.

 

They further advised other TBAs to stop accepting Le.5,000 for home delivery and take all pregnant women to clinics where all medical equipment are present. They encourage people to work with government and UNFPA to reduce MMR, and GBV with special emphasis on pregnant women who are very stubborn to join clinics.


Malikiya, Kamaranka etc-Gbanti Kamaranka Chiefdom


At Malikiya, on the 4th November 2010, Section Chief Pa Alimamy Bangura thanked UNFPA for the initiative of using TBAs as community advocators, especially in his section.

 

The chief pledged to put in place bye-laws in the interest of promoting gender and the reduction of MMR, GBV, and teenage pregnancy in his sections.

 

Locals from other sections that are not inclusive in this pilot phase appealed for the program to be implemented in their areas as they described the program as timely and important, especially so when it focuses on women and girls. Distribution of condoms and demonstration on how to use them was done by the local youths, TBAs and young girls, who had pledged to stand on the forefront of the campaign.


 Karina, Bunbaday & Majoro- Biriwa Chiefdom


On the 10th November 2010, the section chief of Karina, Pa Alhaji Sheku Sheriff and Chief Kalawa II of Bunbaday section respectively thanked UNFPA for their initiative of involving the Traditional Birth Attendants into the fight, noting that all their women listen more to the TBAs than even their husbands. So if government or UNFPA wants to tackle the menace of GBV, MMR, and HIV/AIDS, then they need to involve those that are party to women and we, as chiefs are going to ensure that there are bye-laws to address such cases when they arise, the chiefs stated.


The two chiefs expressed their gratitude to UNFPA and the MSWGCA for giving the program to the TBAs, but noted that they are constrained with mobility, poor road network, low cooperation from the pregnant women, and even the community people but furthered that with the introduction of this program and the TBAs engagement, the issue would be addressed.

Traditional dancers at Malikiya in Kamaranka Chiefdom.


The TBAs urged their colleagues to come on board the project as they were fortunate to be trained in the pilot phase of the program but come next year with their cooperation, the program will include all TBAs in Bombali. 

 

After the drama skits on Maternal Mortality Reduction, Gender Based Violence, and HIV/AIDS with respect to prevention and control of HIV, and demonstration on the use of male and female condoms, questions where asked on the importance of the three Gender Acts which the locals said they are totally no abreast with.


However, the Gender Desk Officer North in the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Childrens Affairs, Mr. Ibrahim Kamara, was present in all the thirteen districts outreach programs to explain more to the locals on the advantages and disadvantages of the Acts.


Most people pleaded with UNFPA and the MSWGCA for the extension of the program into their sections in order to stop MMR, GBV, and HIV/AIDS in the country once and for all.



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