Welcoming MPs at Parliament’s State Hall, the chairman of the programme Hon Daniel Koroma said the engagement came in the right time as they will use the information while debating on the forthcoming budget allocation. He further pleaded with donors to not only be donating to the people of Sierra Leone but also involve in the activities of the programme as it will reflect on the lives of the people.
Making her statement, the representative Minister of State Vice President Office Haja Rugiatu Kamara said, based on the recent survey’ one out of three children in Sierra Leone is malnourish’, the high number of death during child bearing is also as a result of malnutrition and there for she pleaded with MPs to enact laws and play advocacy roles for the financial increment on malnutrition, sensitize their constituencies on the importance of nutrition and that with all these commitment by parliamentarians the country can defeat malnutrition.
The Ambassador of Ireland, Catherine Campbell when making her statement said the Irish has been working in Sierra Leone for over 15 years and they have been mostly concentrating on nutritional issues. She called on Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the parliamentarians to play their roles in food security. She further explained that over 30% of babies in Sierra Leone are born by teenagers and that is a main factor for the increment in the number of malnutrition.
Aminata Shamit Koroma from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation when making her presentation said ‘the main objective of the engagement is to equip parliamentarians with the knowledge, evidence and lens required to influence the government’s policies, plans and budgets to ensure a country free from hunger and malnutrition’. She reaffirm that the role of MPs is to create oversight on resources actions and result, provide representation and awareness- raising nationwide, multi-sector cooperation, legislation and policy. She said over 3,000 children under the age of five years are stunted, over 60,000 children under the age of five are severely malnourished and at immediate risk of death and over 180,000 children under the age of five are underweight. She called on honorable members to use these statistics to tackle issues of malnutrition in their different constituencies.
The programme was climaxed with MPs committing themselves in seeing that the right things be done in enacting stronger legislations for food, security and nutrition.