|Country-Health Profile on Sierra Leone|
BACKGROUND: The 1991 to 2002 civil war between the government and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (about one-third of the population), many of whom are now refugees in other countries. Sierra Leone, a former British Colony got independence from United Kingdom (UK) on April 27, 1961. National Holiday: Independence Day, April 27, (1961) PHYSICAL: Sierra Leone is located in Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Liberia.
POPULATION: 6,017,643 (July 2005 est.) English, the official language is only spoken by the literate minority. Mende is the principal vernacular in the south, Temne in the North, and Krio (English-based Creole, spoken by the descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who settled in the Freetown area) a lingua franca is a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%.
ECONOMY: Sierra Leone is an extremely poor African nation with tremendous inequality in income distribution. While it possesses substantial mineral, agricultural, and fishery resources, its economic and social infrastructure is not well developed. The fate of the economy depends upon the maintenance of domestic peace and the continued receipt of substantial aid from abroad, essential to offset the severe trade imbalance and supplement government revenues.
SOME SIERRA LEONE STATISTICS: According Aneki statistics and United Nations WORLD RANKING Sierra Leone is ranked:
GOVERNMENT: Constitutional democracy. Capital City is Freetown. Administrative divisions include 3 provinces and 1 area: Eastern, Northern, and Southern provinces, and the Western area.
INFANT AND MATERNAL HEALTH REALITIES IN SIERRA LEONE
Health education, health care, and health care delivery are in such dire need in Sierra Leone that if we do not help, poses a greater threat to infant and maternal mortality, more than political rivalry and the 11 year civil war that besieged Sierra Leone from 1991 to 2002.
According to a local journalist and prolific writer, Kayode R. Robin-Coker, “EVERY MINUTE, EVERY HOUR, PREGNANT WOMEN DIE IN SIERRA LEONE”…
Kayode writes…. You may find some of these images distressing, and I apologize for that, but these stories need to be told. Dear God, how is it possible that this is happening in the 21st Century?
Loved ones are responsible for many aspects of patient care. Family members are hand-washing patients’ clothes at the back of the hospital ward.
“Every minute, every hour, pregnant women die in Sierra Leone,”
A pregnant woman is brought to PCMH in Freetown with pregnancy complication. Later that day she was Dead.
Sierra Leone has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the world: one in eight women die in childbirth, compared with one in 4,800 in the United States and one in 48,000 in Ireland, according to the United Nations.
A young woman gazed at her infant son for the first and last time. She died shortly after giving birth to him, because medical staff could not stop her hemorrhaging.
“We live by fate in Sierra Leone, because no one is sure of tomorrow,” said her brother.
Staffers improvise a hospital bed with chairs and stools to elevate the bed as a patient suffers fatal hemorrhaging. Hospitals in Sierra Leone lack basic equipment and often medication, and staff struggle to provide service in a state of chronic deprivation.
The corpses of three stillborns swathed in their mothers’ clothes, as they lay on a hospital countertop awaiting pick-up from families for burial. During a recent 48-hour period, 6 women and 5 babies died at Princess Christian Maternity Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s Capital City. Sierra Leone claims the highest rates of both maternal and infant mortality in the world.
A 28 year young mother and her baby are being buried. The mother died during delivery, and the unfortunate baby never took a first breath. Both mother and baby were buried in the same coffin.
DO YOU THINK SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE TO SAVE THE LIVES OF SO MANY IN SIERRA LEONE? THEN, JOIN THE SIERRA LEONE ARC OF HOPE. WE MUST INTERVENE TO STOP THESE PREVENTABLE DEATHS, AND WE MUST DO IT NOW! GO TO THE DONATE PAGE, MAKE A DONATION AND INSCRIBE YOUR NAME ON THE MEMORIAL WALL IN HONOR OF YOUR CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTION.