The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on 23rd January 2024, engaged staff of the Nutrition Unit of the Tonkolili District Health Management Team in Magburaka. The customized meeting was part of the Commission’s unflinching commitment to raise awareness on corruption and the urgent need to curb it for quality public service delivery.
Delivering the anti-graft messages, Senior Public Education Officer, Abdul Karim Bangura, thanked staff of the Unit for hosting officers of the Commission’s Northern Regional Office located in Makeni. Mr. Bangura explained the negative effects of corruption particularly on state-owned institutions citing huge loss of public funds which, in turn, deprives the public of much-needed services.
Mr Bangura furthered that corruption does not only stifle economic growth in the country, but also saps public trust and confidence in public institutions. Corruption, he continued, can also scare away investors and discourage donors to implement life-saving projects and programmes. He therefore described corruption as peril to all sustainable development efforts. ‘We should therefore consider fighting this threat as a civic duty,’ he urged the nutritionists.
According to the anti-graft officer, to begin to fight corruption one must accept its existence, understand its modes and impacts. He therefore outlined reported acts of impropriety and interventions aimed at tackling malnutrition, which has claimed the lives of thousands of children under 5 especially in rural communities. He pleaded with the staff of the Unit to endeavour to resist and report corruption to the ACC using either of the toll-free lines 077985985 or 077986986, during business hours.
In his contribution, Senior Public Education Officer, Aiah Sourie, pointed out that Government and its partners have made serious strides to address malnutrition as a significant threat to the overall health and well being of children. ‘Malnutrition limits the potential of children to learn and be productive later in life,’ he said, adding that although Sierra Leone has made progress in achieving the target to reduce stunting, there is still a staggering number of children suffering from the condition.
Mr. Sourie emphasized that corruption could reverse the gains so far achieved in arresting and managing malnutrition. Therefore, he called on staff of the Nutrition Unit to invariably consider service to man over service to self.
He informed his audience about the Commission’s ongoing nation-wide consultations to elicit the views and opinions of a wide-range of stakeholders to craft the 5th generation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS 2024-2028). Mr. Sourie underscored the Commission’s inclusive approach in the fight against corruption, explaining that the NACS is the collective voice and action of the citizens to achieve a corrupt free Sierra Leone. He further informed them that the bi-annual online declaration of asset, income and liabilities with the Commission has begun and encouraged them to act accordingly to avoid penalties.
The District Nutritionist, Mira Jones, thanked the ACC officers for the meeting and pledged to mainstream anti-corruption values in her Unit, in spite of several challenges in handling 45 Out- Patient Therapeutic and 3 In–Patient Facilities within the District. She received IEC materials from the ACC Team and promised to display them in places where the public will easily see and read them.