It was International Women's Day on Monday. I have been in the midwifery school this week, to celebrate IWD and highlight the impact that skilled birth attendants can have on reducing maternal and infant mortality we made a short film of a skit performed by the students, they originally acted it in January for the opening of the Midwifery School. It powerfully shows the different delays which lead to poor outcomes for women and babies in Sierra Leone, these include a lack of knowledge of the significance of danger signs by both women and untrained birth attendants, poor access to health care facilities because of the poor road network and limited availability of transport, the financial barrier and the attitude of health care professionals.
The government is implementing free healthcare for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and children under 5 at the end of next month. I am hopeful that reducing this financial barrier in conjunction with training midwives to work in rural areas will mean that outcomes for women and babies in Sierra Leone will gradually begin to improve.