She enlightened MPs that Sightsavers is working to eliminate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Sierra Leone, particularly river blindness and lymphatic filariasis (LF). She asserted that an estimated 3.3 million people require preventative chemotherapy for river blindness, whilst more than 6.9 million people require preventative medicine for LF, adding that in 2017, they trained more than 29,000 community drug distributors and distributed almost 10 million NTD treatments in the country.
Sightsavers’ Country Director updated MPs that to reduce poverty, we are also working to improve the quality of eye health services in the country and access to them, noting that In 2017, they screened more than 232,000 people for eye conditions and performed 4,000 cataract operations. She further updated MPs that they are also implementing a project which supports children with disabilities, with a particular focus on girls, to access education in Bombali District in Northern Sierra Leone, adding that they are working with partners to improve 45 schools and enable them to support the children by training teachers in inclusive education. Madam Smart said that Sightsavers’ work is aligned with the UN’s Global Goals, a set of targets to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Our work in Sierra Leone directly contributes to achieving the SDGs.
The Chairman of the IPU, Hon. Neneh Lebbie said that they are working effectively with the committee on SDGs to provide assistance for the integration of the SDGs in the Sierra Leone National Development Plan. She said that they are impressed with the contributions of Sightsavers to eliminate neglected tropical diseases and promote an inclusive education for every disable. “Inclusive education for all means no discrimination, but inclusive of all, regardless of any physical challenge,” she said.
The Committee Clerk on SDGs, Mr. Momodu L.D. Rogers, recalled the concept of the SDGs in 2016, in order to set up an Action Group, commending that the current Parliament had elevated the aforementioned to a sessional Committee, which is comprised of various chairmen of diverse Parliamentary Committees, including that of Education, Health, Defense and so on. Mr. Rogers said that the committee on SDGs is facing enormous challenges. Thus, he requested for Sightsavers and partners to support MPs with a resource center, mobility facilities, training scheme for MPs, and the like.
Other MPs commended the selfless contributions of Sigtsavers, requesting that Sightsavers should endeavor to spread their activities in other part of Sierra Leone. They promise to support the advocacy group and to ensure that SDGs are achieved within the set deadline of 2030 in that the SDGs are fully integrated in the activities of Parliament.