6 Improve maternal health

Where we are?

In 2000, the maternal mortality ratio was 1,800 per 100,000 births, the world’s highest. Sierra Leone’s 2008 Demographic and Health Survey found that maternal morality had dropped dramatically to 857 per 100,000 births.

The Government of Sierra Leone is supportive of enhancing maternal health and welfare servicesand this political commitment is supported by substantial bilateral and multilateral development partner assistance. With the introduction of the free healthcare initiative in 2010 by the Government of Sierra Leone which provides free healthcare services to pregnant women and lactating mothers, the possibility of achieving the MDG target of 450 by 2015has been improved,butstill remains a considerable challenge. In order to bolster efforts to achieve Goal 6, the following should be considered:

  • Equipping more Primary Health Units to provide safe pre, intra and post delivery services.
  • Improving human resource development for effective delivery in obstetric care.
  • Provision of better infrastructure, including housing facilities for health personnel.
  • Provision of more logistics support, equipment, medicines and medical supplies.
  • Awareness raising through more effective information, education and communication.

UNDP's work in Sierra Leone

Targets for MDG 5
  1. Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio
    • Most maternal deaths could be avoided
    • Giving birth is especially risky in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where most women deliver without skilled care
    • The rural-urban gap in skilled care during childbirth has narrowed
  2. Achieve universal access to reproductive health & inadequate funding for family planning is a major failure in fulfilling commitments to improving women’s reproductive health
    • More women are receiving antenatal care
    • Inequalities in care during pregnancy are striking
    • Only one in three rural women in developing regions receive the recommended care during pregnancy
    • Progress has stalled in reducing the number of teenage pregnancies, putting more young mothers at risk
    • Poverty and lack of education perpetuate high adolescent birth rates
    • Progress in expanding the use of contraceptives by women has slowed & use of contraception is lowest among the poorest women and those with no education