These are desperate times for most pregnant women in Sierra Leone who are mandated to bring their own blood and water to hospitals during childbirth.
The situation in Sierra Leone hospitals for pregnant women, in particular, is unbearably deplorable, as the conditions continue to deteriorate under the SLPP government of President Julius Maada Bio. Latest reports have confirmed that pregnant women are forced by the midwifery department in hospitals to bring their own blood and water in order to ease labour pains.
“Bring your own water bring your own blood,” these are the instructions often given to pregnant women in Sierra Leone. This is the peril of giving birth in Sierra Leone today. The Sierra Leone Telegraph newspaper reporter Memuna Forna has the details as follows – Bring your own water! Bring your own blood! Filth encrusted speculum supplied. Sierra Leone doctors who are returning to their country to make a difference are facing these inhuman conditions in various government hospitals nowadays.
There is a critical shortage of nurses, dentists, health professionals, and doctors. With only 150 doctors working in the public sector, it is not surprising that the health statistics for Sierra Leone are within the bottom quartile for least developed countries, with a life expectancy of 51.3 years and under 5, mortality between 120 and 156 per 1000 live births.
During the Ebola epidemic, Sierra Leone lost 250 of its medical staff, weakening an already desperate health system even further. When last year medical staff went on strike, protesting against the lack of protective equipment, medical supplies, and resources for the fight against COVID, the government appointee in charge of the COVID-19 response, insultingly suggested many of them were in the medical profession for the wrong reasons. (Photo: Water is demanded as tap water is in short supply in hospitals).
Mother’s Day is a national holiday in Sierra Leone. We can do so much more to keep them from dying. Sierra Leone’s Princess Christian Maternity Hospital theatre relies on packet water because running water is rarely available. The Twitter comments below describe the day-to-day reality of Sierra Leone’s primary maternity hospital, where drugs and equipment are not available, where doctors scrub up before operations using tiny plastic sachets of water because running water is scarce, and the staff would not even consider giving births there themselves.
Dr Catherine Jackson-Jones said:
“No water for the major Maternal Referral Centre in Sierra Leone…! One year ago, it was the same struggle, I left things smoldering. I am back and still the same issue! What are we doing? This is stupid.” Marcella Ryan-Coker said: “It was the same when I was House Officer almost three years ago. We had to pay the cleaners to fetch water in gallons so we could have a shower when we were on call…..”