Sierra Leone’s Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Hon Soccoh Kabia has told Newstime Africa in his New England office that the country is making progress in terms of development. He said that the country has good plans to ensure that women and children are protected and provided for; with their need taken care of. The Ministry, prior to the appointment of Soccoh Kabia was in a state of collapse but in recent times, it has undergone some reforms. Sierra Leone’s decade long civil war had an adverse effect on children. Hon Kabia however said ‘children are the future leaders and they are vulnerable, they must be protected, they must be productive citizens’ He made reference to the Child Right Act and said ‘children must have access to education and good health’
Following President Ernest Koroma’s election in 2007, Soccoh Kabia was appointed Minister of Health and Sanitation. He is from the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change party, and this political arrangement came about following the alliance that occurred between the APC and the PMDC during the 2007 presidential elections.
At the Health Ministry, reports indicate Soccoh Kabia succeeded in putting in place directorates to administer the day-to-day running of the country’s health sector. Among those directorates were; the Reproductive and Child Health, Medical Research and Mental Health. It was also under his tenure at the Health Ministry that the country experienced a reduction in maternal mortality rate, which became reduced from 1,300 in 2005 to 857 in 2008, accounting for a 34% decline, also under five mortality dropped from 265 in 2005 to 140 in 2008, accounting for a 47% decline, infant mortality dropped from 158 in 2005 to 89 in 2008, accounting for a 43% decline.
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs had been in a moribund state, but these are challenges the minister says, he is ‘ready to face‘. He says, he would want to see the ministry transformed into one of the most powerful ministries.
Speaking further, Saccoh Kabia said there are new directorates at present in the ministry of social welfare including one for Social Welfare, one for Children’s; another for Gender, and the remaining two for Human Resource ands Finance. He said, he is aware that the ministry has to create the enabling environment that guarantees gender parity as opposed to gender based discrimination.
The concept of decentralization has gained momentum in recent times, with the devolution of state functions to the local council. This has enabled community people to be part of the decision making process in the country. This is also now the case with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs According to the minister ‘people should be involved in finding solutions to key problems facing the ministry. He said ‘with the support of the president and the government, and team at the ministry,’ he is sure of making progress.
© 2009 – 2011, John Baimba Sesay. All rights reserved. Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.