Inside Sierra Leone’s Maternal and Newborn Mortality Rates

With an overall population of 5.9 million people in Sierra Leone, 200 women will die today from complications during childbirth. Every year, 2400 women lose their lives due to pregnancy related causes in Sierra Leone. And, close to 10,000 babies die every year during their first month of life. There has been notable progress in Sierra Leone to end maternal and newborn deaths in the small, coastal country, but the mortality rates are not decreasing fast enough.

Based on this year’s data from Save the Children’s State of the World’s Mothers Report , Sierra Leone was ranked as one of the worst places to be a mother for the past eight years. Ranked at #172, only Central African Republic, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, DRC and Somalia are worse. And, according to this year’s State of the World’s Midwifery Report only 24% of all pregnancy needs are met by midwives in Sierra Leone.

Mamaye Sierra Leone is calling on its government to commit more resources to save the lives of women and their newborns. The Free Health Care Initiative has allowed countless women to deliver their babies in clinics, but unfortunately, these clinics are often void of the basic necessities for a safe delivery. In fact, over half of the clinics in Sierra Leone are not equipped to provide proper, quality maternal and newborn health care. One in six facilities in Sierra Leone are able to perform signal functions such as administering life-saving drugs, performing caesarean sections, newborn resuscitation, or blood transfusion, according to Mamaye.

What Does Sierra Leone Need to Save More Mothers and Babies?

  • Mamaye Sierra Leone says that the government needs to allocate more funds to emergency obstetrics and newborn care nationwide.
  • Mamaye Sierra Leone also says there needs to be a rapid scale-up of health workers who can provide safe delivery services to women across Sierra Leone.
  • And, thirdly, Mamaye Sierra Leone says there needs to be quality care across all health services.


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