28 June 2018

Sierra Leone: UN Women Calls for Multi-Sectoral Approach to End Maternal Mortality

Country Representative of UN Women in Sierra Leone has called on the government to start thinking of adopting a multi-sectoral approach in an effort to help end maternal mortality in the country.

According to Dr. Mary Okumu, maternal and infant mortality and morbidity is multi-sectoral issue, and that not only the Ministry of Health and Sanitation could reduce it.

She was speaking yesterday at the Atlantic Hall of the Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown during the official opening of a stakeholder's sensitization on sexual and reproductive health issues in Sierra Leone, organized by the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone.

"Women are dying. For every 100,000 live births, 1,165 women lose their lives. I want us to reflect what causes these women to die given birth. There is no need for a woman today to die while giving birth because we have the technology, equipment and knowledge," she said.

Dr. Okumu noted that she cannot continue to be proud of assistance that put data without ways to stop maternal deaths in the country.

She reckoned that Sierra Leone was sitting on a bombshell and that there would be no future if the underlining causes of maternal morbidity and mortality are not addressed.

"I do not understand how we can be proud or reconcile as a nation with highest maternal mortality in the world. I want to implore us in this New Direction agenda to look at issues of education and access to services to address these issues," UN Women Country Representative urged.

HRC-SL Chairperson, Rev. Dr. Usman Jesse Fornah, said the country has one of the world's highest maternal mortality rates, adding that unsafe abortion practices were common because of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act.

"Maternal mortality remains the second leading cause of death for girls aged 15 to 19 years old. Unsafe abortion and lack of access to post abortion care continues to be the leading cause of maternal mortality and morbidity," he said

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