She noted that the policy will also provide decision-makers with direction by setting out a framework to guarantee improvements that are aimed at ensuring that pesticide are used and disposed of throughout their full life-cycle that pose no adverse effects on human, animal health and the environment.
She stated that the ultimate goal of the national pesticide management policy is to achieve effective, safe and sustainable vector-borne disease, agricultural, household and public health nuisance pests’ management system. The objective she said is to provide clear evidence-based communications that meet the needs of the implementing partners, health and agriculture professionals and ensuring that those working in Primary Health Care are provided with the support required to provide quality health services to the people of Sierra Leone.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer reminded her audience that the policy direction of the plant protection strategy for Sierra Leone will be driven by a clear understanding and adoption of Integrated Plant Management (IPM) principles and practices for the growing of healthy crops. Decision making in IPM strategies and measures she said is based on regular monitoring and analysis of pest problems by farmers.
She thanked the Directorate of Environmental Health and Sanitation, Pest Control Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, agencies, NGOs and donors for their time and effort in providing guidance.
The Director of Environmental Health and Sanitation, Dr. Ansumana Sillah underscored the importance of the Policy noting that Pesticides Management and its safe use is a global issue that needs national attention.
Pesticides he said, if not properly manage will lead to deaths of human and wild life including aquatic species, adding that if not effectively disposed will also affect community by polluting the environment and water sources.
He said with the partnership with NGOs and other key stakeholders including the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security, they are poised to ensure that pesticides imported into the country are the right type, and use efficiently and disposed safely to avoid unnecessary harm to human, wild life, and domestic animals.
Making his statement, the World Health Organization (WHO) Health and Sanitation Environmental Coordinator and Health Security and Emergency Lead, Dr. Harry Opata lamented the huge amount of pesticides used in the African region estimated at over 800, 000 tons annually with no comprehensive statistics on it use. This Dr. Opata said poses a serious challenge and called for an integrated approach to address the situation.
He reiterated that vector borne diseases are also becoming a threat and calls for its management and control in the African region noting that most countries in Africa do not have policy or legislation. Commenting on the Integrated Health Regulation, Dr. Opata opined that it binds member states in Africa to take the challenge towards providing a strategic plan that would enhance further steps for the overall safety and security of the region.
He said WHO is committed to the task and reiterated their support towards achieving the desired goal of the policy.
Head of the Crop Protection Service, Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security, Raymonda Johnson spoke about the importance of the policy to the crops and lives stock division in their Ministry and the nation in particular, and expressed their commitment to support the Ministry of Health in the implementation of the policy.
She said the country is now moving from small scale farming to large scale farming, adding that it is good that Sierra Leone is rising to international standard in the area of Pesticides Management and Control.
Madam Johnson disclosed that her Ministry has made available resources to review the National pesticides use, and expressed concern over illegal trade and the porous borders with street pesticides that is affecting international trade.
Other highlights include statement by Consultant, Pest Management, Dr. Ibrahim Shamie and an overview of the internal contents of the policy by Health Superintendent, Mr. Bockarie Sesay.