Published: Wednesday, 06 January 2016 16:38

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The Civil Society platform for Scaling Up Nutrition and immunization (HANSL-CSP) held a two-day planning and review meeting16th and 17th December 2015, at the National Caritas Hall, St Edwards Secondary School, Kingtom in Freetown.  The meeting brought together representatives of the district coordinating bodies, market women, religious leaders, Kombra media network and other stakeholders in nutrition and health including the Directorate of Food and Nutrition (DFN) and Extended Programme for Immunization (EPI) from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS).

While giving the purpose of the meeting the CEO of FOCUS 1000 Mr Mohammad B. Jalloh thanked members of the platform especially those in the districts. He commended DCB members and networks for the work they are doing in various communities across the country that has led to the recognition of the platform at local and international levels. He stated that the meeting aimed to evaluate the platform’s progress as well as be an opportunity for districts to learn from each other. This meeting was also an opportunity for members to assess challenges and determine how to address them.
In her statement The Director of Nutrition Madam Aminata Shamit Koroma encouraged members to continue to raise awareness in their communities on the importance of keeping children healthy and safe through good nutrition from pregnancy to that age of two. She emphasised the need for continued promotion of early and exclusive breastfeeding, good infant and young child feeding practices to reduce malnutrition rates in the country.  In response to the need for continued efforts by the platform, the Manager for EP1 Dr Marke, thanked members for their hard work and asked that they remain diligent in supporting the government in increasing immunization uptake to reach the 80% rates which had declined since the Ebola outbreak.

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The meeting included progress updates from national secretariat and district coordinating bodies now established in all 14 districts across the country as well as planning for 2016 to contribute to Global targets for scaling up nutrition and immunization. With over 200 members the platform now aims to strengthen its advocacy efforts to ensure that government meet their commitments to end Hunger and Malnutrition with a prime focus on ensuring that government fulfils some of them before the Rio summit in 2016. In relation to immunization, the platform plans to galvanise mobilisation efforts in order to increase immunization uptake by reaching all children and increasing awareness on the importance of immunization as well as advocating for better services and access for the most vulnerable through trusted networks like the religious leaders, market women and traditional healers.
All fourteen DCBs shared the activities conducted during 2015 highlighting achievements, opportunities and challenges. Other contributions included presentations by HKI co-chair of the platform and CRS on global priorities, strategies and expectations of SUN and GAVI for 2016, through multi-sectorial coordination and collaboration. By the end of the meeting district plans were developed for which these will be shared with government before they are finalised in January 2016.