Time flies away so fast, after 26 years they left Sierra Leone, Madam. Jaa-Hee Kim UNICEF’s first Country Representative to Sierra Leone and Bruce Kennedy UNICEF Programme Coordinator from 1984-1990 made another trip to Sierra Leone. Their trip this time was not as UNICEF staff, but on invitation courtesy of the Chief Executive Officer of FOCUS 1000 Mohammad Bialor Jalloh. They left Freetown last week Thursday, after they spent 2 weeks vacation in the country. Their two weeks trip was filled with deep sense of memories and surprises.
During their stay in the country, they had the opportunity to meet with staff of FOCUS 1000 where they were briefed about the activities of FOCUS 1000.
They met with the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brima Kargbo and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Amara Jambia at their Youyi Building Officer in Freetown. The two former UNICEF bosses had the privileged to hear from Dr. Kargbo and Dr. Jambia about the country’s health situation.
L-Mohamed Bialor Jolloh CEO FOCUS 1000, next Jaa-Hee Kim former UNICEF rep mid, Dr. Brima Kargbo Chief Medical Officer next Dr. Pratt Head of Programme FOCUS 1000 and RBruce Kennedy UNICEF formerUNICEF Programme Coordinator
Mrs. Kim and Bruce travelled to Kambia where they witnessed the formal opening of FOCUS 1000 District office by the new Chief Justice Abdulia Cham.
Kim and Bruce met with the current UNICEF representative to Sierra Leone Geoff Wiffin and a across section of UNICEF staff at UNICEF’s New England Ville Office in Freetown.
UNICEF 's Jeoff wiffin
FOCUS 1000 transformed their vacation to re-union where Madam Kim and Bruce met with old and retired staff they had worked with at UNICEF in the 80s. Former employees of UNICEF showered praises and admiration in working with Kim and Bruce.
Madam Kim bonding with her former secretary after 20 years
Before they travelled, they met with the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Hon Victor Buckarie Foh at his Tower Hill Office in Freetown. The Vice President welcomed Madam Kim and Bruce into the country. Victor Foh informed them about his government commitment in improving the health of children and women in the country. One way of showing government commitment is by hosting the Scaling up Nutrition Secretariat at his office. “After the war against Ebola, malnutrition is another war to fight”, Vice President said to Kim, Bruce and rest of the team. He pledged his office continued support to the work of the Civil Society Platform on Scaling Up Nutrition and Immunization (SUNI) a platform hosted by FOCUS 1000 to help advocate to improve nutrition and immunization across the country.
Meeting with the Vice President
FOCUS 1000 CEO thanked the Vice President for opened his door to them and more so consented to meet with the former UNICEF bosses. He acknowledged the Vice president’s role in making Scaling Up Nutrition Campaign one of his priorities under his watch. “ Hosting the Scaling Up Nutrition at your office is an evident to that”. He commended the Vice president for serving as an active chairman in chairing most of the scaling up nutrition meetings.
Madam Kim and Bruce where accompanied by Dr. Mohamed Foh Coordinator Scaling Up Nutrition at the vice President Office and Dr. Samuel Pratt Programme Director FOCUS 1000.
In all of these, Madam Kim and Bruce were overwhelmed with surprises just a short passage of their trip in the country. They thanked FOCUS 1000 CEO for making their lives complete. “ Thank you so much Mohammad! I’m so proud of you!” Madam Kim with heartfelt joy says to FOCUS Boss, followed by Mr. Kennedy.
It could be recalled that Madam Kim and Bruce during their tenure in Sierra Leone with a hardworking team played a significant role in making Sierra Leone meet 74% immunization in 1990 from its backward trend of 4% immunization in 1986.
Their visit was climax with a delicious family lunched at Mr. Jalloh’s house in Freetown.
By Sallieu Sesay