Marie Stopes Launches Valentine Posin-to-Posin Promo

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By Foday Moriba Conteh

In its strides to provide personalized contraception and post-abortion care services to women and girls in Sierra Leone, Marie Stopes Sierra Leone with support by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS), DFID, UNFRA, WAHO has on Friday 14th February, 2020  launched the Valentine Posin-to-Posin 2020 Promo at their Conference Hall, on Ahmed Drive ,Aberdeen Road, in Freetown.

In his statement, Country Director, Marie Stopes Sierra Leone Dr. Ufuoma Festus Omo-Obi, disclosed that Government of Sierra Leone (GOSL) Development Agenda highlighted the rise in teenage pregnancy and its calamitous implication for maternal mortality and the development outcomes of Sierra Leone, adding that about 15% of girls have sexual intercourse before 15 years; adolescent pregnancies are among the top 10 countries in the world and about 28% of adolescent women age 15-19 years are already mothers pregnant and 44% of girls are married before 18 years and about 44% pregnancies of girls below 20 are lost after 7 months of gestation or babies die within 7 days of life, teenage pregnancy accounts for 40% of maternal deaths.

He said that HE Brig. Rtd_ Julius Maada Bio, GCRSC  noted that they have a moral and constitutional right to protect the girl child and to change her outcomes furthering how his Government is focused and committed to inclusive national development and that means radical inclusion of every citizen regardless of gender, ethnicity, ability, and socio-economic or any other circumstance.

He went ahead to state that the past February 14 which was Valentine’s day was considered as one of the most challenging moments for our adolescents as it places them (especially the ignorant) at the mercy of falling victim to sexual exploitation. He said that in support of the Government’s development priorities, they are pleased to announce the launch of a month-long free Family Planning Promotion code-named “Valentine Posin-to-Posin 2020 Promo” as both are precautionary as well as a response mechanism to help protect the would-be victims of the ills of the Valentine’s Day commemoration from unintended pregnancy. This promo will reach women and girls with quality, personalized and confidential services of choice free of user fees between Friday 14th February to Saturday 14th March 2020”.

He noted that the Valentine Posin-to-Posin Promo is funded and supported by Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS), DFID, UNFRA, WAHO disclosing how LAD Services will be available for free at all their Outreach Sites in Districts, 117 Community Health Centers adding that services available free during “Valentine Posin-to-Posin promotion” period are Long Acting & Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs) specially IUD (Coil) including sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) Counselling and free Screening and STI treatment.

He expressed appreciation to the leading telecommunications companies (Orange, Africell-SL Qcell & Sierra Tel SL) that their clients, families and stakeholders can reach them through the ton-free line 3535 to learn more about Valentine’s promotion, the services they offer or to book their preferred Choice Of services at a Clinic or know the outreach schedule or invite an outreach team to their communities.

He said that Marie Stopes Leone is part of a global partnership of Marie Stopes International operating in 37 countries, providing personalized contraception and post-abortion care services to women and girls.

In underscoring their successes for 2019 he noted that in 2019 Marie Stopes provided 463,000 people with contraceptive services (excluding 2.1 Million Condoms distributed) with 566,194 couple years of protection, adding that their services averted an estimate of 204,000 unintended pregnancies; 102 000 unsafe abortions and 1,700 maternal deaths averted which shows that they care for the well-being of communities, 1 individual woman at a time and that their services also contributed to making 8.5 million Euro savings in direct health care costs to the Government of Sierra Leone.

In her address, Mary Kobba on behalf of Mrs. Patricia Bah, National Coordinator, Teenage Pregnancy, Child Marriage and School Health Programmes on behalf of the Secretariat extended sincere thanks and appreciation to Marie Stopes Sierra Leone for the launch of the Valentine Posin-to Posin promo maintaining they are all aware that Valentine Day is the day most of adolescents, especially girls, are at the mercy of falling victims to sexual exploitation, adding that  adolescents and youth are 1 .8 billion strong and form a quarter of the world’s population.

He said that adolescent pregnancy within the ages of 10 to 19, become pregnant which is closely linked to issues of human rights. Girls, who lack choices and opportunities in life, or who have limited or no access to sexual and reproductive health care, are more likely to become pregnant.

She said that at the regional level, the proportion of teenagers who have started childbearing is highest in the Southern region (33 %) with Pujehun in the lead and lowest in the Western region (18%), adding that the percentage decreases as education level increases; 46 % of teenagers with no education have already begun childbearing compared with 22 % of those with secondary or higher education. Teenagers in the lowest wealth communities are more likely to have started childbearing compared with those in the highest wealth communities (36 and 14% respectively).

Highlighting the progress made so far by the Secretariat in the reduction of Teenage pregnancy she said:

  1. The Secretariat work in partnership with UN agencies, NGO’s and Civil Society organizations to develop a 5 year country-wide strategy (2018- 2022) which is aimed at reducing teenage pregnancy and coordinating national efforts through multi-sectorial interventions and approaches.
  2. The first Communication Strategy developed in 2015 has been reviewed and a new one produced in 2019. This revised Communication Strategy (2020-2024) is the communication arm of the National Strategy for thematic areas.
  3. Achievements under the national strategy have included the refurbishment and establishment of 50 Adolescent Friendly Health Services at PHIJs across the country, which includes training of staff for effective provision of adolescent friendly services and provision of IEC materials; and additional 6 facilities were upgraded in recent months and 12 more are currently being upgraded.

The Secretariat, with support from UNFPA hired a consultant to develop a comprehensive national life skills training curriculum that covers a wide range of topics, and is designed for audiences at all literacy levels etc.

She ended by saying the secretariat believes the launch of the Valentine Posin-to Posin Promo undertaken annually by Marie Stopes to provide women and girls who cannot afford to pay for such services will help to reduce teenage pregnancy and increase access to family planning commodities.

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