Last week Sajid Javid MP went to Sierra Leone to witness first hand the impact that UNICEF is making for children in the world’s tenth poorest country.
Malnutrition rates in Sierra Leone are incredibly high. Stunting, the irreversible impact of a lack of nutrients in the first 1,000 days, affects 44% children.
Mr Javid visited a few of our projects in Sierra Leone. In Makeni he visited a community-led sanitation programme, where local villagers oversee water and sanitation programmes to ensure the ownership and success of the projects. In the same area he visited an out patient clinic for children recovering from severe acute malnutrition.
In 2010, along with other partners such as the UK Department for International Development, UNICEF worked with the Government of Sierra Leone to implement a free health care initiative for pregnant women and the under 5s. Mr Javid had the opportunity to visit the children’s hospital in Freetown, where families are able to receive free health care initiative for their young children.
The MP from Bromsgrove met with mothers to discuss the impact of the free health care and the support groups that educate mothers on the importance of breastfeeding and good nutrition for their children.
The trip highlighted the scale of UNICEF work; engaging both at the national level supporting Sierra Leonean Governments to implement national strategies, and also at the local level providing basic services to the most remote villages and hardest to reach children in Sierra Leone.