He recalled that the last meeting organized by the SUN Secretariat was very important and brought together participants from the district and the various networks, including civil society, the media, United Nations agencies, donors, scientific institutions, private sector players, government functionaries and many others to validate the multi-sector strategic plan for reducing malnutrition and hunger in Sierra Leone.
“The five year plan which we gathered to scrutinize and validate a few weeks ago was a presentation of the consultant’s first draft. The draft called on every player in all the various components to make an input so that at the end of the day we would have a comprehensive five year multi-sector strategic plan which brings everybody on board so that the shared responsibilities would help reduce or end malnutrition and hunger in this country,” Dr. Foh explained.
He explained further that one very big and recent strategy is an initiative of the Vice President, Dr. Juldeh Jalloh to bridge the manpower gap in the SUN Secretariat Movement.
According to Dr. Foh, the Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh in bridging the manpower gap has called on local authorities to come on-board. “He sent letters to all local councils in the country for them to create a SUN Desk and SUN Desk Officers in their respective councils so they would serve as a link between the councils and the SUN Secretariat. The SUN Desk Officers will be there to facilitate coordination of SUN partners’ activities to reduce duplication of efforts, maximize presence and rollout SUN initiatives down to the chiefdoms and local council wards, so that all players would realize they have a role to play,” Dr. Foh said.
He added that whoever has to be incorporated into the school system; how to wash hands, and how to prepare food will be able to do so properly. He went on to state that if nutrition is included in the teaching curriculum it would be helpful and, “if we come to the Ministry of Health, they should provide the basic health facilities so that the community will be healthy and strong and will not be sick.” He went on to say that they will support agriculture so that they will be able to produce the food and the children when they are healthy and strong can go to school and can respond better because of improved cognitive ability due to sufficient nutritious food which makes them smarter and better able to learn; thus preparing them for future leadership roles, the SUN National Coordinator said, adding that “everybody has a role to play.”
On how effective monitoring SUN activities have been, he said, “From my own experience, I can say the people claiming to be the stakeholders say they really need the service. They tell you that government alone cannot do it; and they would further say the MoHS alone cannot do it; the Ministry of Agriculture alone cannot do it. Ministry of Education alone cannot do it, civil society alone cannot do it until all come on board and if every one of us come together we all do our little bit, then the result will be solid and will stay sustained.”