9th August, 2017 Freetown: ‘Nutrition and immunization are the twin engines that can save the lives of children’ says Mohammad Jalloh, Chief Executive Officer FOCUS 1000 at a workshop for journalists from across the country held on Tuesday 2nd August at the Charm’s Beach Hotel, in Freetown.

An informal dinner was organized to create a spark of networking that formed the introductory session of a two day’s media training on the topic “Empowering Media Practitioners’ skills on reporting on maternal health, nutrition and immunization for the survival of mothers and children in Sierra Leone.”

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Dinner session with members of the media at Charms Hotel

“Sierra Leone has made significant efforts in raising the profile of nutrition through convening high level advocacy events and engagement with the media. In April 2016, the Vice President presided over a three-day national health and nutrition fair that aimed at raising awareness to address undernutrition through a multi-sectoral approach” says Dr. Foh National Coordination SUN Vice President Office.

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Dr. Foh

The main causes of malnutrition are multi-faceted. Therefore, tackling the challenge of malnutrition requires people to work together across sectors and address the issues associated with the underlying causes of:

– insufficient access to food / Limited Household Food Security

– inadequate maternal and child care practices /Poor Feeding Practices

– poor water and sanitation and

– High Infectious Disease Load / Inadequate health services.

Sierra Leone is making significance gains at reducing stunting (34.1% to 28.8%) and levels of wasting from 6.9% to 4.7%. With the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease, the gains made between 2012 and 2015 are futile.

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Healthy baby 

It is important to note that the role of the media in promoting immunization and nutrition is very important to enable the country to meet its target to reduce malnutrition.

This role was showcased on their involvement in information dissemination to contain the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease in Sierra Leone.

What is required of them is the right skills and content from expert resource persons to enrich their capacity to develop human interest stories that would motivate communities to take the leading roles in championing best nutritional practices for their families.

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At the end of the day’s workshop, participants made commitment to cascaded knowledge gained from the workshop to their colleagues. Applied newly acquired skills to write human interest stories and also share at least 1 human Interest story per month with FOCUS 1000 and SUN Secretariat on maternal health, nutrition and immunization.

To view workshop pictures click here