Insight News

Feb 06th

Sierra Leone leads the way for maternal care

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we-care-solar-cradle Women have been spilling out the doors of rural health clinic in Sierra Leone since the government eliminated fees for pregnant women and children.

The subsidized clinics have eliminated the need for births performed by the light of cell phones and flashlights. Trained medical staff oversee the deliveries, ensuring a higher level of protection for the new moms.

By waiving the fees, the government sharply reduced the mortality rates for pregnant women and deaths from malaria for small children.

Robert Yates, British senior health economist, called the results “nothing short of spectacular.” His UK group, the Department for International Development, is paying for almost 40 percent of the $35 million program, with the rest coming from the World Bank and other donors.

Since waiving the fees, Sierra Leone has seen a 214 percent increase in the number of children under 5 getting care at health facilities, a 61 percent decrease in mortality rates in difficult pregnancy cases at health clinics, and an 85 percent drop in the malaria fatality rate for children treated in hospitals, according to figures Mr. Yates supplied.

Meanwhile, a U.S.-based group is addressing the unreliability of electrical power with a portable solar electric system that fits in a suitcase. The "WE CARE Solar Suitcase" powers overhead LED lighting, charges cell phones or two-way radios, and includes LED headlamps that come with their own rechargeable batteries.

The group is currently working in Northern Nigeria where maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world. For more information, visit:  

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