The Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance(CHAMPS) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS), has concluded a week-long sensitization workshop for Community Champions, Traditional Healers, Societal Hands, and Kombra Media Network members in Bo.
The primary objective of these engagements was to sensitize them about adult Minimal Invasive Tissue Sampling(MITS) implementation, and how they would cooperate and provide support to CHAMPS for wider coverage of awareness on MITS acceptability in Kakua and Tikonko chiefdoms, in Bo.
Making a statement on the essence of the meeting, the Program Manager for CHAMPS Bo, Martin Musa Seppeh said that the Minimal Invasive Tissue Sampling gives a scientific answer to the causes of death of an individual and subsequently prevents further occurrence in that community. “This training workshop endeavors to bring together a cross-section of key Traditional Healers, Community Champions, the KOMBA Network, and Societal Heads with the primary objective of engaging them on activities relating to adult MITS implementation, and how they would cooperate and provide support to CHAMPS”. He said.
Martin Musa Seppeh explained that CHAMPS started its operation in 2017 in Makeni and rolled out to Bo in 2021, working in two chiefdoms in the districts, with support from its partners-FOCUS 1000, Crown Agent, and World Hope International, CHAMPS have engaged in community and stakeholder sensitization, data processing; to know the causes of deaths, and mortality surveillance, as a way of supporting and complementing the government to produce high-quality data on stillbirths and deaths in children under the age of five years and also uses several different sources of clinical, autopsy, laboratory and pathology information to determine the cause of death.
Representing the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the District Medical Officer Bo, Dr. Prince E. Masuba thanked CHAMPS for their support and hard work by complementing the government’s effort to ensure that quality data are produced in determining the causes of deaths, which is why the MITS is serving as a postmortem to inform the government of which illnesses are causing more deaths, but more importantly, help the government to prioritize its budgetary allocation to the health sector.
He also spoke of the government’s effort to roll out a FREE HPV Vaccination exercise targeting over 150,000 girls aged 10, starting Monday, October 3rd, 2022. He said that Cervical Cancer is the second most common cause of cancer in females in Sierra Leone after breast cancer.
During their remarks, the participants assured CHAMPS that they will intensify their house-to-house community engagements, report cases, and rumors, be an intermediary between their communities and CHAMPS and encourage their communities to take advantage of the MITS.
The Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) is a network of seven surveillance sites in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. CHAMPS addresses an important knowledge gap by producing high-quality data on stillbirths and deaths in children under the age of five years. CHAMPS uses several different sources of clinical, social, anthropometric, autopsy, laboratory, and pathology information to determine the cause of death. The central mission of CHAMPS is to enable targeted responses to save lives at the family, community, hospital, district, and national levels.