The government of Sierra Leone has announced an end to health center user fees for pregnant women, lactating mothers, and children under five. Questions remain regarding the multiple factors that contribute to maternal death in Sierra Leone.
In this story, IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis takes a closer look at the issue of maternal mortality and raises concerns regarding the various factors leading to extremely high levels of maternal mortality in Sierra Leone, factors that will likely not be addressed by a quick-fix abolition of user fees.
“…C.T.H. Bell, a gynaecologist with the privately owned New Life hospital in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, says that more critical than free treatment is speed of decision-making in the home, an efficient transport infrastructure, and prompt treatment on arrival at a health centre…
…Monir Islam, head of WHO’s Making Pregnancies Safer Programme, told IRIN poor roads and a lack of ambulances made it hard for people from rural areas to get to a city for emergency care. ‘Free care means little on its own. If women cannot make it to a centre, what good is free care?’…”
Read the full story, Free Care for Expectant Mothers: Is it Enough?