‘We want to know why our children get sick and die which contribute to the high infant mortality in the country’ this statement was a key highlight by community stakeholders during the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance Community Engagement conducted in seven wards in Pati Bana and Teko Communities Bombali District, Tuesday 13th to Monday 19th February 2018.

Over 45 key community leaders attended this meeting, geared towards identifying and addressing issues attributed to the high child mortality in their communities.

The District Medical Officer Dr. Brima Osaio Kamara explained that the CHAMPS project is fully recognized and led by Ministry of Health and Sanitation through the DHMT that is implemented by FOCUS 1000, World Hope, eHealth and CDC.

‘It is evidential that most of our children below five years get sick and die, which most of our community people relates to witchcraft for which we believe it is an unknown cause’ he went on. Dr. Kamara informed participants that the CHAMPS Project will find out the various causes of child deaths and report every sickness or death through 117 which will help in addressing and combating the various causes. He further encouraged participants to embrace this approach that will put an end to child death in their communities.

FOCUS 1000 is the lead in conducting Formative Research and Community Engagement with the aim to find out reasons why children get sick and die explained by Baindu Kosia Programme Manager at Teko Ward community workshop. She added that as stakeholders it is vital that they inform the project on how best it can be implemented and successful in their various communities by identifying causes, solutions and recommendations.

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Right: Baindu Kosia Programme Manager talking to a radio journalist of Hope FM in Bombali District

Karie Joe Programme Manager World Hope International informed participants at Rogbaneh ward that her organization is charged with the responsibility to conduct medical surveillance with the community people which would inform technical people on what causes death, why it prevalence and how they can tackle these problems. She further informed participants that the project will entail Death notification i.e. 117, Verbal Autopsy and Minimal Invasive Tissue Sampling within communities.

 Karie Joe Program Manager WHI

Karie Joe Programme Manager  WHI

Participants drawn from the seven wards in Bombali district at the end of the workshop were able to understand the concept of the project and further affirmed their commitments to discourage the stigmatization of 117 toll free line for a positive change that they believe will drastically reduce the high rate of child deaths in their communities.

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Several interactive radio discussions programmes were conducted to further inform and respond to concerns about the project and it implementation.

Radio discussion Radio Maria

CHAMPS Community engagment lead and partners on Radio Maria in Makeni  talking on the project

By Bridget Lewis: Communications Officer