By Marilyn King
People’s Alliance for Reproductive Health Advocacy (PARHA) in collaboration with Planned Parenthood Association Sierra Leone (PPASL) and Civil Society Organization (CSO) held a meeting on the 15% budget allocation in the health sector.
This event took place on Saturday 25th September at the PPASL office in Freetown.
Youth Officer of PPASL, Samuel Yemeh Koroma stating the purpose for the meeting disclosed that they are meeting to engage Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to set a plan that will be used to further engage the Ministry of Finance for the allocation of the 15% Abuja Budget to the Health sector.
He furthered that it is a promise that the government of Sierra Leone made during the Abuja Declaration in 2001, that they will be giving the Health Sector 15% budget allocation. He continued that they have seen progress over the years from 7% to 11% and now12.3% and that it is not all as they are still advocating for the 15%.
He stated that as Civil Society Organizations they want to see how best they would come up with strategies or ideas, and also how they are going to complement the effort of government in rolling out the CSE session.
He noted that, the proclamation is not the end, but how they will ensure that the right information have been given out, and how they as Civil Society Organizations will form a coalition and take the lead.
The Director of Programme PPASL, Thaim Kargbo said they are discussing about PARHA which is a lead pillar consisting of Civil Society Organizations.
He congratulated PARHA for their longstanding experience in championing, especially issues of Sexually Reproductive Health.
He went on to say that during the Abuja Declaration of 2001, countries including Sierra Leone made commitment on the reduction of Maternal Mortality, and the reduction of Child Mortality and Child Mobility.
He continued that they are looking at the integration of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) into the National School curriculum and they are also looking at the engagement with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance on the increase of budget allocation to the Health Sector in Sierra Leone.
He stated that with the support of PARHA and other organizations including the Ministry of Health they have success stories for the ninth month project.
He maintained that one of the success stories is the increase of the government budget allocation from 11% to 12.3% in the health sector.
The Vice Chairperson for PARHA, Theresa M. Ongong, explained that PARHA was formed in 2012 and it was known as REPAN at that time.
She noted that the initial initiative was to advocate on reproductive issues for which PPASL advocated for safe abortion.
She furthered that the campaign was later joined by other NGOs and the Law Reform Commission for which a Safe Abortion Bill was championed which was not signed by former President Koroma. Questions and answers climaxed the occasion.