On the sidelines of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) 2022, the First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Her Excellency Madam Fatima Maada Bio, shared the Maternal and Child Health panel with other distinguished First Ladies, during which she spoke about the successful implementation of the Hands Off Our Girls Initiative in the country.
Under the distinguished patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, H.E Madam Fatima Maada Bio joined one of the leading global platforms where scientists, entrepreneurs and policymakers meet to develop solutions to significant health issues facing the world today and explore ways in which innovation could improve those issues for the future.
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the platform assembled health experts and state actors to critically examine the successes and challenges of maternal and child health in various countries and design a roadmap for future healthcare delivery.
Given her astute role in tackling Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and child trafficking, raising awareness on early pregnancy as well as promoting the health of the girl child in Sierra Leone, Madam Fatima Maada Bio explained the genesis and associated outcomes of the Hands Off Our Girls Campaign, stating that the campaign was engendered to ensure the girl child acquire education undisturbed, thereby complementing the Free Quality Education project launched by His Excellency Dr Julius Maada Bio.
“We launched the Hands Off Our Girls to break society’s stereotypical barriers, especially in introducing the girl child to early marriage and pregnancy as well as identifying them as objects of pleasure, raising awareness on the dangers of SGBV, developing policies to address the problems and give them a voice to speak about societal ills and empower them to contribute to nation building,” the First Lady noted.
Drawing inspiration from Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser on increasing access to education and maternal and child health, Her Excellency revealed that she was constructing a state-of-the-art medical city, which would accommodate 500 beds, a paediatric centre, nursing and midwifery school, administrative office with improved medical facilities at the 34 Military Hospital in Freetown, adding that the facility would tackle myriads of healthcare issues affecting Sierra Leoneans, particularly women and girls when completed.
The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) was established by Qatar Foundation in 2013 as a catalyst for change. WISH unites the world’s most influential thinkers and brilliant minds to develop solutions that can improve health outcomes globally.
Credit: Cyril Barnes, Information Attaché, Sierra Leone Embassy, State of Kuwait.