Sierra Leone News: UNFPA supports midwives and helps mend health system

Ultra Sound being on a Pregnant women

Ultra Sound being on a Pregnant women

When World Health Organization (WHO) declared Sierra Leone Ebola-free over a year ago the country had already suffered over 3,900 deaths. Ebola killed over 200 health workers in Sierra Leone, including 56 midwives.
Fear and stigma plagued the healthcare system, especially reproductive health care. This left thousands of women and girls without maternal health and family planning services.
UNFPA and the Government of Sierra Leone are working to restore access to reproductive healthcare. “Before Ebola, we had limited midwives,” said Margaret Mannah-Macarthy, a UNFPA midwifery expert, “and now we have even fewer.” UNFPA is now supporting midwifery schools in Freetown and Makeni, which are expected to graduate 80 to 90 students, every year.Midwives from these schools will be able to provide a full range of services for pregnant women, from antenatal care and safe deliveries to postnatal care. They will also be trained to provide reproductive health services to the broader community, including neonatal care, family planning counseling, and diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections.
Some midwives are also eager to do community outreach. “I want to help communities to be less fearful about coming to the hospital,” said Jeneba Sia Bundo, a 29-year old midwifery student.At the National Midwifery School, one of the UNFPA-supported institutions, training will now exceed the rigorousness of the previous curriculum.“The Ebola virus highlighted some serious gaps and deficiencies in the curriculum that we teach the midwives,” Dr. Joan Shepherd, the school’s principal, told UNFPA.
By Ophaniel Gooding
Awoko Wednesday, June 28, 2017.

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