By Sarjo Camara-Singateh
FASDEP and Central Project Coordinating Unit (CPCU), through the Ministry of Agriculture, have handed over Antibiotic drugs to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, through National Nutrition Agency (NaNA), for further transmission to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. The event was held on Wednesday 30th August 2017, at the Central Medical Stores in Kotu.
In receiving the drugs, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Dr. Cherno Omar Barry, said the handing over of the drugs was an extra-ordinary support to his ministry. He commended the gesture of donor partners by nurturing the inter-ministerial effort towards supporting the country though his ministry.
Mr. Modou Mbye Jabang, Project Coordinator at CPCU, said the drugs and syrup are designated for malnourished children in the West Coast and Lower River regions respectively.
Mr. Jabang stated that during the project design phase, about 15.5% and 20.2% of the households in Lower River Region (LRR) and West Coast region (WRC) respectively, were food insecure and vulnerable. Similarly, 29% and 19.9% of children under-fives in the LRR and WCR respectively are wasted. This is higher than the national average of 7% of under-five children who are wasted.
Integrated Management of malnutrition is key to food and nutrition security. The D2.9million worth of drugs (antibiotics) have been procured by FASDEP through their implementation partner in nutrition security (NaNA). Inter-ministerial collaboration is an important pillar of the ANR policy in the drive towards achieving food and nutrition security.
He said last year, FSADEP in collaboration with other agencies and the ministry of education, procured 1300 Nutrition education Manuals for use in the basic cycle schools in LRR and WCR.
The project also provides school feeding in 101 schools in the targeted regions and this is implemented by World Food Program (WFP) under the United Nations. The project should also establish 60 school gardens and 30 schools have already benefited.
In addition, the project was supposed to procure ready to eat therapeutic feed for children under five but at the time, NaNA has enough stock of therapeutic feed; that this is why they changed to procure antibiotic drugs to supplement the therapeutic feed; that all this is geared towards addressing malnutrition in vulnerable communities.
Mr. Pa Modou Phall, the Executive Director at NaNA, gave a brief background on the initiative. He indicated that some years ago, government proposed to Global Agriculture programme (GAP); that NaNA is one of the agencies that participated in the drafting of the proposal which led to the approval of 28 million dollars for FASDEP.
Mr. Phall indicated that nutrition is cross-cutting being the reason that brought the three ministries together on common ground.
Mr. Kebba Jarjue, project director of FASDEP, also expressed similar sentiments that the whole idea of procuring the drugs was to address malnutrition.
Ms. Fatoumata Samateh, of Central Medical stores, thanked the donors for supporting the Health Ministry. She promised that the drugs would be delivered accordingly.