Sierra Leone: UNFPA Chief Blames Maternal Deaths On Lack of Blood Products in Facilities

Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has lamented the lack of blood and blood products in health facilities as one major cause for the increase in maternal deaths.

Speaking on Radio Democracy 98.1 'Good Morning Salone' program on Wednesday September 4, 2019, Dr. Kim Eva Dickson revealed that about 46% of adolescent girls died as a result of maternal causes, which is why they have supported the government to do adolescent friendly health service training to support healthcare providers to know how to interact with young people because they are the ones who face the most difficulties when they get to health clinics.

"Sometimes you have a woman bleeding to death and there is no blood in the clinic. Also sometimes, the relatives are prepared to give but their blood is not matching that of the woman. We really need more people to donate blood," she appealed.

To reduce maternal deaths, Dr. Dickson stressed the need to have what she called stillbirth attendant by having a midwife supporting a patient. She added that giving birth at home and with unskilled people does not save maternal life.

She appealed to everyone to go out and give voluntary blood donation because it is the only way through which a woman's life can be saved.

She also spoke about bleeding after birth as another cause because according her, sometimes women delay getting to the health facility and therefore by the time they get there, it is very difficult to save their life.

She stated that with support from government and their donors, including the British Department for International Development (DFID), they have supported the setting up of primary health clinics in districts which can at least provide maternal health care.

"We have tried our best to have them not only in Freetown but in hard to reach areas like; Tombowala and Makale. We have also at UNFPA supported the training of midwives. We have three midwifery schools in the country and at the moment, we are supporting the training of midwives in all the three schools," she disclosed.

She disclosed that every year, 109 midwives graduated for these schools and they are posted right to the primary health centers.

Dr. Dickson noted that when they started supporting the training of midwives way back in 2010, there were only 95 midwives but at present, there are over 700 midwives.

She added that they are also supporting government with adolescents friendly health services because lots of young girls are getting pregnant.

"In terms of maternal health, at least we have more infrastructures, training more midwives and we are also ensuring equipment supply so that when a woman goes to the facility, they can have the care they deserved.

She UNFPA Representative emphasized that there were no quick solutions in addressing issues affecting women and girls, which is why they raising more awareness to get the public to understand the issues because they want zero maternal deaths and gender base violence against women and girls.

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