Concord Times (Freetown)

Sierra Leone: 500 Children to 'Race for Survival'

Five hundred children from ten secondary schools in Freetown will on Friday (October 26) join their counterparts from across 64 countries in the world to participate in this year's 'Race for Survival' which is organized by Save The Children International to raise awareness on the need to tackle malnutrition, the underlying cause of one-third of all child deaths.

According to the organization's Everyone Campaign Manager, Joanna Tom-Kargbo, children will use the event to call on the government to maintain the free healthcare, improve access to quality health services for children and women.

She told journalists at the headquarters of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) on Campbell Street in Freetown, that the government has demonstrated significant focus on child health and malnutrition by launching the Free Healthcare Initiative in 2010, as well as the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Initiative in 2012, but more still needs to be done in ensuring that preventable child deaths become a thing of the past.

"This event will be the second episode in Sierra Leone. The 'Race for Survival' is a global relay that will cover the full marathon. Children will have the opportunity of presenting messages to decision-makers and the media. They will also call on the government to ensure that rural and remote health facilities have an adequate number of trained health professionals as well as ensuring that 15% of the total budget is allocated to health by 2015," she said.

"We will also use the event to officially launch our 'Mama En PikinWelbodi Album' with the country's top musicians," she said.

Ms. Tom-Kargbo also disclosed that a "Lappa Competition' will be launched wherein the public will be asked to design a lappa to raise public awareness on the importance of hand washing.

She thanked Health Alert, Airtel, Ecobank and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation for their unflinching support to the organization of the event.

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