Making strides to improve maternal health in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone has the highest maternal mortality ratio in the world.

© UNICEF Sierra Leone/2016/Mason

"Sierra Leone has the highest maternal mortality ratio in the world, making it one of the most dangerous places to give birth. In partnership with the EU, UNICEF is working with trained health workers like Sister Josephine Pewa to reverse these trends in child and maternal health. ..."


"Becoming a mother is a source of joy, pain, love, and a lot more besides. But for many women, it can be life-threatening: childbirth remains among the leading causes of death for women globally. A recent report entitled Trends in Maternal Mortality by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, the World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division estimates that in 2015 alone around 303,000 women died as a result of pregnancy or childbirth, leaving hundreds of thousands of children motherless.

With 1,360 mothers dying per 100,000 live births, Sierra Leone has the worst maternal mortality ratio in the world. According to the latest estimates from 2015, 1 in 17 mothers in Sierra Leone has a lifetime risk of death associated to childbirth. That’s a key concern for UNICEF and the European Union, who are working in partnership to tackle the issue through investment in training, equipment and medical supplies. ..."


"Beyond staff training and equipment, a key goal is to ensure that at least five fully functional Basic Emergency Obstetrical and Neonatal Care (BEmONC) centres and one Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care (CEmONC) centre are available in every one of Sierra Leone’s 14 districts. In December 2015, 16 separate construction and rehabilitation projects started across the country, funded by the European Union through UNICEF, to improve basic health infrastructure including maternal facilities. ..."

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