Greenville — The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with funding from the Swedish government has extended its Sexual and Reproductive Health Program targeting adolescent boys and girls to Sinoe County.
The program was launched over the weekend in Greenville, the capital of Sinoe at a colorful event attended by officials of the United Nations and the Government of Liberia including UN Resident Coordinator, Neils Scott, the Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah and UNFPA Country Representative, Dr. Bannet Ndyanabangi.
Giving the overview, Dr. Ndyanabangi said the program was launched in 2017 in Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru and River Gee counties due to statistics which show high teenage pregnancy rate in the southeastern region.
The program is based on three access point module, targeting health facilities through the youth friendly centers that provide basic sexual and reproductive health services to adolescents and the establishment of health clubs and teaching of sexuality education in school schools, according to him.
The third pillar, he said, is the involvement of the community by working with community based organizations, especially women groups who are trained to educate their friends and children about the sexual and reproductive health rights, and to also encourage them to make use of the youth friendly centers.
The program, he said has made a huge success in the three counties where teenage pregnancy and maternal mortality have reduced. The evaluation in Grand Gedeh Showed a 20 percent reduction in teenage pregnancy, while health officials in River Gee trumpeted the drastic reduction of maternal mortality in 2020 and 2021 so far.
The UNFPA Country Representative called on the people of Sinoe to embrace the for its successful implementation by reducing teenage pregnancy and maternal deaths.
"We are reducing teenage pregnancy because when teenager get pregnant, most of all, they lose opportunity, they drop out of school," he said.
"Secondly when you look at maternal mortality, the majority of those who were dying in childbirth were young women and teenagers. So, they were contributing to the high maternal deaths. But the program enhanced the potential of young people, ensure that they stay in school, ensure that they won't get pregnant when they are still young."
In separate remarks, Mr. Scott and Dr. Jallah thanked the Government of Sweden for the support and called on residents of Sinoe to take ownership of the program for its successful implementation.
Mr. Scott said since the end of the civil war, the government and people of Liberia have achieved a lot through the maintenance of the peace, promotion of justice and the provision of basic social services.
Liberia, he said, continues to make significant achievements in health to maintain the global health coverage. But there are still need for significant improvement, especially in the reduction of maternal mortality which is high among young people.