Health Alert & RMNCAH Coalition Call on Govt. To Honor Compact Agreement

By Foday Moriba Conteh

During a comprehensive media engagement geared towards addressing the implementation of health service delivery, utilization of COVID-19 finances and the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in the country, held on Tuesday, 22nd August, 2023 at the GGEM Hall on John Street in Freetown, the Civil Society Organization,  Health Alert and the RMNCAH Coalition collectively urged the Government of Sierra Leone, through the Ministry of Finance, to fulfill the commitments outlined in the Compact Agreement signed with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in February 2022.

Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of Health Alert and Chairman of the RMNCAH Coalition, Victor Lansana Koroma, reminded attendees that in February 2022, the Government of Sierra Leone, through the Ministry of Finance, entered into a Compact Agreement with UNFPA. The agreement mandated the Government to allocate 1% of its contribution, amounting to $12,000 USD, for the procurement of Family Planning commodities and essential drugs related to Reproductive and Maternal Health for the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

He emphasized the significance of these provisions, noting that the commodities in question are intended to facilitate adolescents’ and youths’ access to Family Planning resources. This access is crucial in addressing concerns such as unwanted teenage pregnancies and providing contraceptive treatment for women and girls of reproductive age.

Enumerating the benefits of Family Planning, the Executive Director highlighted that it plays a pivotal role in minimizing pregnancy complications, reducing adolescent pregnancies, lowering infant mortality rates, preventing sexually transmitted infections, promoting education and economic empowerment, and ultimately contribute to socio-economic growth and human capital development.

He further underscored the economic rationale for investing in modern contraception and maternal and newborn care. He shared insights from the World Health Organization (WHO), stating that fully meeting the needs for modern contraception and maternal and newborn care could lead to a net savings of US$6.9 billion compared to solely investing in maternal and newborn health care. The returns on investment compound over time, demonstrating the lasting benefits of prioritizing modern contraception.

Highlighting the Compact Agreement as a mechanism for domestic resource investment, Victor Lansana Koroma stressed that UNFPA’s continued support hinges on the Government’s fulfillment of its obligations under the agreement. He emphasized that failing to meet the stipulated commitments may jeopardize UNFPA’s future contributions to the health sector.

He concluded that in light of these considerations, the Coalition earnestly calls upon the Government, through the Ministry of Finance, to honor its commitment as articulated in the Compact Agreement inked with UNFPA in February 2022. This step is essential to ensure the continuous support from UNFPA for the health sector.


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