Accommodation and care for women about to give birth in rural Sierra Leone will save many lives.
Why we care: Mothers in labor face the daunting prospect of traveling long distances over difficult terrain.
How we're solving this: Community-based referral centers provide welcome and supportive birth waiting homes for mothers to be.
Sierra Leone is a dangerous place for a mother-to-be. The number of women dying due to complications in childbirth is among the highest on the planet. What should be a time of hope and joy is all too often a time of worry and, sometimes, tragedy.
Northern Bombali is one of the most remote areas of Sierra Leone. Here nearly a third of women find themselves over five miles from the nearest health facility.
The daunting prospect of traveling these long distances, over difficult terrain, while in the late stages of pregnancy, means many are unable to make the journey. If they do manage to reach them, they find health centres that are small and unable to allow women to stay for very long. This means that the majority of rural women, with nowhere nearby to stay, do not travel to health facilities and instead give birth in unsafe conditions, putting both the mother and child at risk.
With your support, we will establish 27 birth waiting homes close to health centres across the region. These will provide welcoming and supportive environments for pregnant women to stay at, and where they can then be referred to nearby health facilities. This will enable women who live furthest from health facilities to get the care and attention that they may otherwise have not been able to receive.
Suitable homes will be identified by local communities and rooms supplied with beds, linen, tables, washing equipment and clean clothes. A woman in each home will be trained as a ‘host’ to provide supportive care to women and to identify common signs of danger during pregnancy. Hosts will work together with local women and health workers to form a community-based referral network between the community, waiting homes and health centres.
This is an effective community-based way to ensure more pregnant women in rural areas are able to access essential health services at such a vital time.
Please support this project and help ensure that around 650 women from the remotest parts of Sierra Leone are able to give birth safely in the coming year.