Marie Stopes Engages Stakeholders in Kenema on SMRH Bill

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By Philip Koroma, Kenema

In a concerted effort to address critical reproductive health challenges faced by women and girls in Sierra Leone, Marie Stopes Sierra Leone recently concluded a two-day awareness-raising event aimed at influential women and community stakeholders regarding the Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health Care (SMRH) Bill. The event took place at Luawa Hotel in Kenema.

Sandi Massaquoi, the Advocacy and Outreach Manager at Marie Stopes Sierra Leone, highlighted the collaborative efforts between Marie Stopes, the Ministry of Health, and various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), including the People Alliance for Reproductive Health Advocacy (PARHA), in drafting the proposed SMRH Bill. The bill seeks to enhance access to safe termination of pregnancies resulting from rape or fetal abnormalities, and to promote the overall well-being of women and girls in the country.

He stressed the importance of engaging influential women and community stakeholders to familiarize them with the contents of the proposed bill, aligning with the strategic roadmap established by the technical working group. The two-day event aimed to raise awareness, deepen understanding, garner support, and facilitate effective navigation of the legislative process to promote reproductive health rights in Sierra Leone.

Participants were encouraged to actively engage with their Members of Parliament to emphasize the significance of the proposed SMRH Bill, with the hope of facilitating its smooth passage once introduced in Parliament.

Furthermore, the Advocacy and Outreach Manager disclosed that in December 2023, Marie Stopes Sierra Leone specifically targeted Members of Parliament representing the female caucus on health, gender, legislative, and human rights committees to ensure women’s voices are central in the legislative process.

He added that upon completion, the revised draft of the bill will undergo validation by the ministerial cabinet before being tabled in Parliament.


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