Kroo Bay to Benefit from Orange-SL Maternal Health Project

By Foday Moriba Conteh

With the aim to provide support to optimize maternal health services and to complement Government’s Free Health Care Policy (FHC) in the country, one of Sierra Leone’s leading telecommunications service provider in the country, Orange Sierra Leone has on Friday 11th March 2021 launched the Maternal Health Project in Sierra Leone which is geared towards safeguarding the health of pregnant women, lactating mothers and under-five Children primarily as a pilot phase targeting the Kroo Bay community. The launch took place at the Miatta Conference Car Centre at Brookfields in Freetown.

The said project is intended to reinstate new hope in the Kroo Bay Community approximately inhabited by 21, 770 people in one of the most densely populated slums communities in Freetown.

In her statement, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Orange Sierra Leone, Aminata Kane informed the gathering that the launch of the Maternal Health Project in the country is about regarding mothers’ health and safety as very key in society, adding that in most cases mothers are worried about the health and safety of their babies.

She noted that maternal health remains the biggest challenge in Sierra Leone as 1 out of 70 mothers stand a risk of dying while giving birth which she said is not good for the country.

The CEO pointed out that the project is extremely important to them as it reflects their commitment to contribute to social goals by engaging and supporting sustainable development in the country.

“Today, Orange has established a formidable partnership with the Ministry of Health and ICAP to reduce Maternal Mortality in Sierra Leone by the launching of this project. I need no emphasis in stating that Maternal Mortality continues to plague the lives of our women across the country. During the past years, our consultations and interactions with Sierra Leoneans have revealed that Maternal Mortality is a very serious issue, hence the rationale for our company’s intervention,” she maintained.

Aminata Kane said in Sierra Leone, statistics has shown that 1 in 17 mothers has a lifetime risk of dying in connection to childbirth and also with a population of 6 million people, the country has one of the highest mortality rates in the world with an estimated 1, 165 deaths per 100,000 live births, adding that these deaths can be prevented through a wide range of interventions such as what the project intends to achieve.

He added that together with their partners they have identified the Kroo-Bay community as one of the communities with the highest percentage of maternal mortality over the years stating that the project shall be a community based driven campaign geared towards reducing maternal mortality in deprived communities.

The CEO furthered that it will allow Orange to provide Community Health Promotion, Multi-disease screening services, Baby Care Boxes and SMS Alert for checkups, M-Health Services and IPC Measures for Maternal Health Services.

Country Director of ICAP Sierra Leone, Dr. Hawa Turay noted that ICAP-Sierra Leone would collaborate with Orange Sierra Leone and Ministry of Health and Sanitation to combat maternal and child health in the country, furthering that they had gained reputation over the years for supporting the Ministry in the implementation of several projects notable among them was the Infection Prevention and Control project.

She assured all that they would stand by Sierra Leone to ensure that less than 70 deaths are recorded out of 100, 000 births with the aim to provide support to optimize maternal health services.

Representative of the National Telecommunications Commission, Amara Brewah, expressed appreciation for the launch of the said project which he said is a timely intervention in addressing maternal health issues in the country.

He said that awareness-raising is an integral component of the project and he is with the view that the people have to be constantly informed about maternal health services so that they could know exactly what to do when they are in need of such services.

He also stressed about the importance of  a public education campaign of which he said community health workers should be utilized in educating women about maternal health risks in their communities and that pregnant women who present clear health risks should be encouraged to visit health facilities.

He reiterated that the overall goal of the project is to improve maternal health services noting that Government had made significant efforts in that direction.

The Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Thomas Takpawu Samba revealed that FHC remains a top priority of Government and said MoHS had made significant gains in delivering quality health service to the people of Sierra Leone.

He disclosed that in 2019, about 707 deaths were recorded out of 100, 000 (One Hundred Thousand) births. He however assured the people of Sierra Leone that MoHS remains committed to meeting the target of recording less than 70 deaths per 100, 000.

Giving his keynote address, Minister of Health and Sanitation, Austin Kembay expressed appreciation to Orange Sierra Leone for the kind gesture.

He maintained that the status of a pregnant woman should be the concern of everyone in the community as the child to be given birth to could be a President, a good medical doctor or a good teacher.

The Health Minister also informed that his Ministry had been working relentlessly to bring down the number to less than 70 deaths. He called on health workers to manage such pre-existing conditions as obesity and other health implications among pregnant women and lactating mothers.

He pointed out that managing those health conditions leads to a successful delivery, adding that the attention of health workers to pre-conception, conception, labour and delivery and post-delivery and that these are critical periods in handling maternal and child deaths in communities.

The launching of the project by the Minister formed the high point of the occasion.


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