At any given time in Sierra Leone today, 1 in 20 mothers die because of pregnancy or childbirth. While pregnancy could be seen as a time of great hope, joy, and a positive experience for all women, it is still a shocking and dangerous experience for most women in Sierra Leone who live in extreme poverty and lack access to maternity care.
Sarah lives in a remote village in Southern Sierra Leone. During her pregnancy, she was very worried about how she would safely deliver. With no access to a nearby healthcare facility, Sarah would walk for 15 miles to access the nearest clinic. Pregnancy survival in Sierra Leone for many women is mostly linked to luck – lucky to live near a healthcare facility, lucky to have money to pay for treatment, lucky to have a nurse or physician nearby, and lucky enough to meet essential medical supplies in stock.
“Sometimes I would do this long walk to a nearby clinic, but I don’t get seen because of the money or because the nurse is not available, or they have run out of medicines. I would feel so sad and frustrated.”
Sierra Leone still ranked as one of the countries with the highest number of women deaths in childbirth, with an estimated maternal death accounting for over 35% of all deaths among women aged 15-49.
With a primary focus on making quality healthcare accessible to the most vulnerable populations, Mercy Hospital is committed to leading the efforts to reduce the high rate at which mothers and babies are dying due to acute malnutrition and a lack of basic maternity care.
Because most of the country’s population lives in rural areas and has very limited or complete lack of access to health care services, Mercy Hospital makes regular outreach visits to impoverished villages every month, providing them with critical health care they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
Sarah’s situation changed when Mercy Hospital’s medical outreach team came to her village with maternity care services. She quickly learned that she was pregnant with twins and that she was likely to have serious issues giving birth and needed to come to the hospital to have a successful delivery.
With Mercy Hospital, she gained hope for her pregnancy and safe delivery. She gave birth to two beautiful babies.
“With everything that I was going through, I knew Mercy Hospital and the donors were the only hope for me and my pregnancy… And they made me overflow with joy having given birth safely to two living babies.”
Mercy Hospital is committed to leading the efforts to reduce the high rate at which mothers and babies are dying due to a lack of basic maternity care. With over 60% of the country's population living in remote areas with very limited or complete lack of access to health care services, Mercy Hospital makes regular outreach visits to impoverished villages every month, providing them with critical health care they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
Sierra Leone is a country in the Sub-Saharan African region, where women are more than 130 times more likely to die from pregnancy and childbirth than a woman in Northern America.
Through the generosity and partnership of caring donors and friends like you, Mercy Hospital is changing this narrative for women in Sierra Leone. Their maternity program restores hope to at-risk pregnant mothers and babies. About 5 times every month, Mercy Hospital takes the clinic to those impoverished communities with no healthcare facilities. They would load their vehicles with medical supplies and medical practitioners and spend almost the whole day in a community, providing free life-changing medical services to hundreds of people, mostly mothers, babies, and children. Essential services like HIV counseling and testing, malaria testing and treatment, prenatal and postnatal care, and nutrition programs are offered during those medical outreach visits.
At one point during an interview with Sarah and her friends, sadness quickly covered their faces. When asked why, you could feel the sadness in thei voices as they explained how one of their friends lost their baby because she did not have access to urgent maternity care.
“If only one of our friends had access to this kind of maternity care early during her pregnancy, her baby would not have died. She could have been here with us.”
At that moment, you can imagine the emotions that flooded through everyone. But thinking of generous donors and partners like you, we have always realized that there is hope. Together, we are creating a future where “there are no more deaths of babies because of a lack of access to basic maternity care.”
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