In Kono district, the District Council Chairman, Mr. Solomon Gbondo, who chaired the event at the Kumba Satta Memorial Hall, Koidu City appealed to the attendees at the community event to take the message about family planning seriously to others underscoring that family planning is very important for the advancement of the country and suggested two children per family that could be adequately catered for.
According to the 2013 Demographic Health Survey, Kambia, Kono, Moyamba and Koinadugu districts are the least utilizing family planning contraceptives in the country. Additionally, while Moyamba has a high rate of teenage pregnancy and child marriages, Kono district also has a high rate of HIV prevalence rate.
Solomon Gbondo furthered that childbearing is not a competition, encouraged women to breastfeed for two years pointing out that most of the social problems in the country are due to overpopulation and urged the people to prioritize family planning. He reiterated the importance of educating their children to prevent teenage pregnancies, that children should not bear children and that early marriage of girls must stop.
In his keynote address, the District Medical Officer in Kono, Dr. Andrew Young, disclosed that research indicates that 800 women worldwide die daily due to the process of delivering a baby. He stressed that the primary importance of the community event is to get more and more people to know how to boost their reproductive health as well as pay attention to their rights in relation to family planning.
According to Dr. Young, access to contraceptives has increased significantly which has enabled women and their partners to better determine the number and spacing of their children, thus reducing maternal and newborn mortality.
He added that access to adolescent sexual and reproductive health services should be increased to ensure that young girls and women have greater power over their sexual and reproductive lives, affirming that this can be achieved by enhancing the services and facilities offered, including a wider range of modern contraceptive methods.
Also present at the community event was the UNFPA Adolescent Reproductive Health
Specialist, Mrs. Patricia Bah who lamented that for the first quarter of this year alone, Kono district has recorded 628 teenage pregnancies underlining that too many births is not good for a woman’s health and stressed that most girls are a liability.
Mrs. Patricia Bah also stated that the mortality rate is high in Sierra Leone, that 47 percent of maternal deaths are young girls, that the death rate among teenagers who bear children is high and encouraged all attendees to use family planning services that are free in all government hospitals nationwide reiterating that if women use family planning they could live longer, look young, enjoy their lives, plan for their future by deciding when and how many children they want to have when they are ready.
Mrs. Patricia Bah continued that nurses must set good examples by practicing family planning methods.
At the District Council Hall, the Chiefdom Speaker of Kayamba Chiefdom in Moyamba district, Mr. Allieu Mboyawa, revealed that they have formulated byelaws on family planning and reminded all that defaulters would be prosecuted informing that the penalty for sexual penetration is 15 years imprisonment and promised that the chiefdom stakeholders would address the issue of teenage pregnancy and early marriage.
Officially launching this year’s World Population Day in the District, the Chief Administrator of the Moyamba District Council, Mrs. Veronica Fortune, urged all guests to join family planning services highlighting that the district is plagued with a high rate of teenage pregnancy and early child marriages.
The two districts organized three days of outreach programmes while the distribution of family planning commodities, as well as information, education and communication materials climaxed the two events.