UNFPA supports the Ministry of Health and Sanitation with essential equipment for building a strong health workforce
The United Nations Population Fund UNFPA continues to work with the Government of Sierra Leone to provide maternal and newborn health services, including emergency obstetric and newborn care, family planning services for women and girls, and other sexual health services and reproductive.
By building a strong team of health workers, the agency donated essential medical equipment to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to support emergency obstetric and neonatal care (delivery of EmONC services) and for cervical cancer screening and management. Donated equipment includes cryotherapy machines, carbon dioxide cylinders, fetal dopplers, hemocues, sterilizers, vaginal specula of different types and sizes, forceps of different types and sizes, instrument trays and gynecological models.
The donation was made possible by funding from the People’s Republic of China under the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund (SSCAF), through which China committed $ 2 million in 2019 to reduce maternal deaths and prevent and treat cervical cancer in Sierra Leone. In 2020, UNFPA in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, launched the China South-South Cooperation Project to Improve Women’s Health and Reach Vulnerable People at High Risk of Maternal Death and Cancer cervix. The project led to the development of a national policy on cervical cancer, a strategic plan and clinical guidelines for the management of cervical cancer.
When handing over the material on behalf of UNFPA, Dr Stephen Mupeta, Maternal Health and Family Planning Technical Specialist praised the excellent and long-standing partnership that the ministry and UNFPA appreciated. “The items we donate are needed to care for women during pregnancy and childbirth and some for use in training health care providers. In addition, some will be used for screening and treatment of cervical cancer, ”explained Dr Mupêta.
In receiving the donation, said Dr Francis Moses, director of the reproductive health and family planning program, the equipment is what they have been trying to get as a ministry. “We are grateful to UNFPA for support. We also thank the People’s Republic of China, as donors, for providing the resources we used to deliver cervical cancer training and for providing the equipment to ensure delivery of the services in facilities across the country, ”said Dr. Moses.
UNFPA, with financial support from China, is supporting nine health facilities in setting up cervical cancer screening and treatment services and in equipping reproductive health centers to provide comprehensive reproductive health services. Support for the delivery of EmONC services will help reduce preventable morbidity and mortality associated with childbirth. It will also help reduce the country’s maternal mortality rate, which is among the highest in the world at 717 per 100,000 live births.
Sallay Carew, a senior public health sister attached to the reproductive health and family planning program expressed gratitude to UNFPA for donating equipment and for setting up cervical cancer screening and treatment services in public health facilities. “The donation from the People’s Republic of China through UNFPA is essential for our healthcare sector. The equipment will help us put the lessons learned from the training on cervical cancer screening and management into practice. The facilities across the country will also help address maternal mortality issues, especially those related to cervical cancer, ”she said.
Cervical cancer is preventable and treatable if diagnosed early. In Sierra Leone, 512 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 372 die from the disease each year, with the country ranking 22nd in the world with an age-adjusted death rate of 22.47 per 100,000. Support by UNFPA to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to establish cervical cancer screening and treatment services in public health facilities, make these services accessible to women and help prevent preventable cancer deaths cervix.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
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