Hon. Elizabeth Alpha-Lavallie of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) Tuesday made an emotional presentation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia lauding development strides undertaken by His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, which are aimed at reforming the country’s health sector. The former Deputy Speaker of Parliament who also doubles as Chairperson of the Sierra Leone Parliamentary Action Group on Population and Development (SLPAGPD) paid tribute to President Koroma during the just concluded 2009 International Parliamentarians’ Conference on the Implementation of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action held in Addis Ababa from 27th-28th October at the United Nations Conference Hall.
The thrust of the conference was to promote dialogue among parliamentarians from all regions of the world on the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action, with a view to achieving further commitment to collective action in the areas of resource mobilization and creation of an enabling policy environment for population and development.
Hon. Alpha-Lavallie stated: “One of the major strides in the participation of parliament in maternal health services in Sierra Leone is the proposal announced by His Excellency the President at the last UN General assembly and in his address at the State Opening of Parliament; i.e., the provision of free health services to pregnant women and under five children. This is a Call for Action for all members of parliament in Sierra Leone.”
She lauded the Government of President Koroma’s strides to achieving The Abuja Declaration target of 15% of total national budget allocation to address the Reproductive Health, Gender and Population issues.
Donor’s stringent conditionality and bureaucracy, she said, cause delays in disbursement of funds even where firm commitments have been made.
“Despite the challenges, the Sierra Leone Parliament has taken a number of strides since 1994 in pursuance of the principles of the ICPD Programme of Action; including realignment of policies and regulations, the ratification and domestication of international instruments that deal with health but most importantly RH, Gender and population issues,” she said.
The MP was grateful to UNFPA in the area of capacity building for parliamentarians especially the SLPAGPD.
Over 200 parliamentarians from all over the world attended the meeting.
Other speakers at the forum included: Throraya A. Obaid, Executive Director of UINFPA; Gill Greer, Director-General International Planned Parenthood Federation (PPF); The Dutch Mr. Bet Koenders, Minster for Development and Cooperation of The Netherlands; Elizabeth Lulu, Manager, World Bank AIDS Campaign Team for Africa; Hon. Ambassador Teshome Toga Chana, Speaker of the House of People’s Representative of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
The conference on High-Level Meeting on Maternal Health-MDG5, which preceded the 2009 International Parliamentarians’ symposium on the ICPD Programme of Action was attended by the Donor and Liaison Manager in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Mr. Yayah Conteh.
Mr. Abdul Karim Koroma, the Information Attaché at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Ethiopia also attended the meetings.
Abdul Karim Koroma
Sierra Leone Embassy
Cell: +251 910853476
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