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Day of Prayer and Action for Maternal and Child Health Week

UNICEF Sierra Leone is working with the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone to enlist religious communities in promoting maternal and child health as part of the Day of Prayer and Action for Children. In advocacy events across the country – in capital Freetown, and the regional headquarter towns of Makeni, Bo and Kenema, over 1000 religious leaders will come together in a strategic social mobilisation activity for greater community awareness and participation in the upcoming Maternal and Child Health Week.

This Mother and Child Health Week from November 26-December 2 will witness the administration of Vitamin A, Albendazole, polio vaccination as well as the universal distribution of insecticide treated bed nets (ITN). During the campaign, each household will receive atleast 1 upto a maximum of 3 bednets. The universal distribution of ITNs will help Sierra Leone achieve the 2010 Roll Back Malaria targets and their utilisation will have a significant impact in reducing malaria related maternal and U5 morbidity and mortality. Around 3.2 million bednets will be distributed in this universal distribution campaign.

DPAC Activities will include – promotion of maternal and child health interventions by religious leaders during weekly prayer services; interfaith advocacy events at the county level to include religious and political leadership, civil society and women’s and youth groups,  which will produce action plans; community outreach by religious leaders, including participation in community radio shows and school and house-to-house visits.

In 2007, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) launched the Mother and Child Health Week (Mami en pikin welbodi week in Krio) as a strategic outreach intervention to deliver an integrated package of health services and information on child survival and development to the population. The health weeks take place twice a year – in May and November, and are especially designed to reach at-risk populations including women and children, who have limited access to services at the health facility level. In past years,  the integrated package of services have included the administration of Vitamin A and Abendazole (de-worming) tablets, distribution of insecticide-treated bednets and polio, measles and yellow fever vaccinations. UNICEF is an important partner of the Government of Sierra Leone for the planning, coordination and implementation of the Mother and Child Health Weeks, providing support in planning, logistics, supply and communication activities.

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