Taking a united stand against the critical challenges of stillbirths and child mortality in Sierra Leone, the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) Network, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, unveiled preliminary research outcomes at the 2023 CHAMPS National Advisory Forum.
The event, hosted on the 29th November, 2023 at the Bintumani Conference Centre in Aberdeen, Freetown, revolved around the theme: “Call to Action: Leveraging CHAMPS Data for Action, Policy, and Research.”
The CHAMPS National Advisory Forum served as a pivotal arena, gathering stakeholders for a constructive discourse to shape the trajectory of child health in Sierra Leone. Participants delved into initial research findings, explored avenues for collaboration and contributed insights to optimize the use of CHAMPS data for actionable initiatives.
Funded by the Gates Foundation and supported by Emory University, CHAMPS offers timely and precise monitoring of infectious and preventable causes of death among children under five. In Sierra Leone, the collaborative implementation involves Crown Agents, World Hope International, and Focus 1000 in the fight against child mortality.
During his keynote speech, Dr. Charles Senessie, Deputy Minister of Health, expressed gratitude for the invaluable data compiled by CHAMPS, highlighting its pivotal role in development. He stressed the Ministry’s dedication to partnering with CHAMPS and other stakeholders to tackle issues concerning stillbirths and child mortality.
Dr. Senessie acknowledged the challenge in hospitals and clinics where the underlying cause of a child’s illness often remains unexplored. He committed to ongoing collaboration with CHAMPS to address the country’s high child mortality rates and emphasized the necessity of fortifying the healthcare sector.
Dr. Ike Ogbuanu, CHAMPS Director in Sierra Leone, outlined the organization’s role in identifying and tracking the causes of mortality in children under five and stillbirths through epidemiological surveillance and advanced laboratory testing. Dr. Ogbuanu emphasized the imperative of reducing Sierra Leone’s high child mortality rates and encouraged mothers to provide nutritious food for their children.
Dr. Daphne Moffet, Country Director for the Centre for Disease Control, underscored the significance of data in informed decision-making and strategy development to diminish child mortality rates and fortify the nation’s healthcare system.
Representatives from WHO and UNICEF also spoke, emphasizing collaborative efforts’ importance in addressing Sierra Leone’s challenges related to stillbirths and child mortality. The event marked a significant stride towards a unified response to these critical health issues, instilling optimism for a healthier future for the country’s children.