The engagement which targeted various youth oraganizations and institutions working on sexual reproductive health was aimed at developing a wide consensus on developing a legislation of Safe motherhood in Sierra Leone.
Declaring the session opened, the Honorary President of Planned Parenthood Association of Sierra Leone, Winstanley Bankole Johnson, said young people are drivers, movers and shakers of decision making hence they will recruit a large number of youths to participate in the said exercise.
He called on young people to make the process a continuous one and spread the message wide to their respective communities.
Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Association Sierra Leone, David E. Williams pointed out that there are several factors affecting young people among them: unsafe abortion, teenage pregnancy and limited access to family planning services which prompted their organization to partner with the People’s Alliance for Reproductive Health Advocacy (PARHA) to address the above challenges.
PARHA advocated on women’s and girls’ rights to access information on sexual education and to solicit support in advocating for a Reproductive Health Bill in Sierra Leone.
The bill he maintained when passed into law will ensure that Sierra Leone fulfills its obligations as highlighted in the Maputo Protocol.
The Youth Empowerment Officer at the National Youth Commission, Manso Bangura, said the team they selected are a group of young people they have worked with for a period of time, and many of whom are experienced in Sexual Reproductive Health.
He pledged the commission’s support in working with PPASL on their activities, while concluding that the commission is trying to revitalize its resource center which will provide more services required.
President of the Youth Action Movement Sierra Leone, Marian Pleasant Kargbo said there are lots of challenges affecting young people, which could be resolved easily when they are involved in decision making.
On his part, Akim Sesay a participant representing the National Secondary School News Network (NASSNET) said he will use the media platform to disseminate information with regards to sexual reproductive health.
The engagement attracted Marie Stopes, Youths and Women’s organizations, the Ministry of Health among others.
It can be recalled that a 2015 Report by the World Health Organisation, Sierra Leone has the highest reported Maternal mortality ratio in the world with 1,360 mothers dying for every 100,000 live births.