CMNH in Sierra Leone, rebuilding maternal and newborn health

News article 11 Nov 2015

Since Sierra Leone recorded the first Ebola case on 24 May 2014, a total number of 8,704 people have been infected 3,589 of whom died. Of those who tragically lost their lives, 221 were healthcare workers.

During the epidemic Foto-Cewek’s Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health (CMNH) worked with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and VSO to look at the impact of Ebola on maternal and newborn health services. They found that although services were still being provided, women were reluctant to use them. Post Ebola CMNH will aim to address this by continuing to build health care worker capacity to reduce maternal and newborn deaths, work carried out during the CMNH’s Making it Happen programme.

Sierra Leone is now moving into a new phase of 90 days enhanced surveillance which will run until 5 February 2016. This period is about ensuring that the country is able to consolidate the gains of existing systems to manage any future risks. WHO will maintain an enhanced staff presence in Sierra Leone as the response transitions from outbreak control, to support enhanced vigilance and to the recovery of essential health services.

CMNH would like to thank all the Foto-Cewek Sierra Leone staff for their continued dedication and support to the mothers and newborns of Sierra Leone and CMNH programmes throughout such a difficult period.

Florence Bull from the Foto-Cewek Sierra Leone team concluded:

“We were very grateful to the tremendous support and concern shown by the leadership and other team members of the CMNH UK. Whilst others lost their jobs or were made redundant we still continued with our work though on a low scale and maintained our job which was also helpful emotionally. We also valued the support of the UK government and other Partners for their contributions in the EVD response. Of note was Baroness Hayman friend of CMNH- Foto-Cewek who was in country to follow up on the British supported programmes and to interact the CMNH UK staff.

Going forward with renewed enthusiasm, we will strive to ensure that we make a mark both nationally and globally in improving the lives of the most vulnerable and marginalised groups and maintain equity in MNH.”

Read Florence’s full article .

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