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Women and children are often the worst affected during public health crises. The Aminata Maternal Foundation is working with the Aberdeen Women’s Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone to ensure that vulnerable women and girls continue to have access to free maternal health services during this difficult time.

Previous public health and humanitarian crises, such as the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak,1 have highlighted the severe impacts such crises have on maternal and child health outcomes, as well as providing guidance on the steps that can be taken to mitigate against them.

The basic rights of choosing when to have a child and the ability to receive professional, skilled care during pregnancy are key elements of protecting women’s and girls’ health. However, these rights are dependent on having access to effective and accessible health systems. 

During times of crises, as governments adopt “all hands on desk” style policies, health care workers such as midwives and nurses are often re-allocated from existing maternal health services to other front line responses to the crisis. This can leave maternal services understaffed and unable to meet existing demand.

 

Concerns for maternal health in Sierra Leone during this pandemic

Women and children in remote communities are significantly affected, as health outreach services, such as visits by community health workers and broad scale government immunisation projects, are often cancelled or postponed. 

Pregnant women and new mothers also face difficult decisions in these times. With reductions in household finances and widespread fear about the safety of health centres, ante-natal appointments may be cancelled and child immunisation appointments deferred, delayed or not taken up at all. Recent figures show that the only children’s hospital in Sierra Leone has already seen a 75% decrease in patient numbers.2

In countries like Sierra Leone, where maternal deaths3 account for over 20% of deaths in women of reproductive age,4 further disruption to usual services can have devastating effects. Early and sustained action to ensure continued access to maternal health services is vital to mitigating the short, medium and long-term consequences this pandemic may have on the lives of women and girls in Sierra Leone.

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The Aberdeen Women's Centre's COVID-19 response

The Aminata Maternal Foundation is working with the Aberdeen Women’s Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone to ensure that vulnerable women and girls continue to have access to free maternal health services during this difficult time. Measures to ensure physical distancing and to enhance personal hygiene are being taken at the Centre and staff, who were already familiar with enhanced infection prevention control procedures from their experience during the Ebola outbreak, have been given updated training on COVID-19. 

In times like this, there is an additional burden of cost required to keep all patients and staff safe. Women, however, still need access to good quality services to deliver their babies safely and hygienically: the Aberdeen Women’s Centre is doing its best to continue to operate effectively while undertaking the enhanced COVID-19 preventive actions required.  The Foundation welcomes any additional support you can provide at this time.

READ MORE ABOUT WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO

Chrismas Appeal

December 13, 2020

Mabinty’s story is one of despair and hope. Mabinty was 16 years old and in Junior Secondary School when she was living with her sister and husband. She was brought to Freetown by her elder sister at the age of seven so that she could access education in the hope of a brighter future. One […]

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We’ve done it!

November 26, 2020

And just like that, we’re finished! Over two weeks, hundreds of us have walked thousands of kilometres as we came together a community to walk side by side with mums and babies living in poverty in Sierra Leone. My heart is full thinking of Jakia who inspired this event. It is amazing to think that […]

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You’ve set the pace

November 2, 2020

We can’t believe how much support we’ve already received for our #AMFWalkingChallenge2020. So many people have been willing to help us fundraise for the much needed maternal health support during the COVID-19 crisis in Sierra Leone. I am so touched by everyone’s words of kindness and open hearts to a cause that is so close […]

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Aminata on BBC World Service

October 13, 2020

“A mother and a child dying, that never made sense to me. How can women still continue  to struggle for something that is preventable? No mother or their baby should die in childbirth just because of poverty” – Aminata Conteh-Biger In an in-depth interview with BBC Outlook, Aminata talks about her childhood in Sierra Leone, […]

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‘Rising Heart’ and raising spirits in the Women’s Weekly

August 14, 2020

Have you seen the September issue of Women’s Weekly yet? This month features a six-page special on the life & journey of Aminata. She talks about her life during the war in Sierra Leone, her settlement in Australia as a refugee, and what inspired her to start the Aminata Maternal Foundation. Having our Founder in […]

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Available to order

July 28, 2020

29 sleeps to go until my memoir, Rising Heart, will be released & in your hands! I feel so excited and humbled to share my story with you. Order now You know that my story is a message of hope and resilience despite experiencing extreme trauma. My dream is for every mother in Sierra Leone to […]

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Last year we shared with you a story about Aminata, who is the House Manager of the Aberdeen Women's Centre Hostel Girls programme. Today, the International Day of Education, we would like to introduce her pupil, another talented Aminata who graduated from the Dream Girls Programme.

Read her story and leave her a message in the comments. 🤗

Aminata is a 2018 alum of Aberdeen Women’s Centre (AWC)’s Hostel Girls Programme, which trains vulnerable young mothers in hospitality and provides health education, literacy, and numeracy classes. In addition to these classes every Hostel Girl receives psychosocial counselling and support.

Aminata was such an impressive and dedicated student that after graduating from the programme AWC asked her to join it’s Domestics department. Today, Aminata is a vital member of the domestics department and a beloved member of the AWC family.

Before Aminata joined the Hostel Girls Programme her mother passed away. She went to live with her Aunty who agreed to help her raise money for her schooling by selling water. Every day Aminata and her Aunt sold water on the streets of Freetown, so that she might be able to attend school.

While selling water she met a man and later became pregnant with his child. The man denied that he was the father and abandoned Aminata and her baby.

“Meeting the right helpers changes someone’s life for good. I feel proud to be a model for
other young girls. God constantly reward AWC.”

Find out more about the Dream team here
https://aminatamaternalfoundation.org/mission/our-projects/the-dream-team/

Via @freedomfromfistula
#generationequality #internationaldayofeducation #maternalhealth #aminatafoundation @aminata_conteh_biger
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Motherhood should mark a beginning, not an end.

#maternalhealth #aminatafoundation #motherhood #mothersandbabies @aminata_conteh_biger
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A better world is possible. Together we can do it.

"If we experienced life through the eyes of a child, everything would be magical and extraordinary. Let our curiosity, adventure and wonder of life never end."
Akiane Kramarik
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In 2020 Sierra Leone overturned a ban prohibiting pregnant girls from attending school. However, teens are not encouraged to study when they are expecting.

According to the 2019 census, at the age of 19, nearly half of Sierra Leonean girls have started having babies. That means that almost half of them are deprived of education.

The "Dream Team Program" aims to transform their lives through income-generating skills and empowerment at the most vulnerable moment in their lives, both economically and emotionally, through rebuilding their self-esteem and confidence.

Learn more on our Highlights or visiting our Website
https://aminatamaternalfoundation.org/mission/our-projects/the-dream-team/

*In order to comply with the government COVID restrictions the Dream Team Program is currently suspended.

#aminatamaternalfoundation #unwomen #SDG4 #education2030 #unicef #unfpa #malala #educationisahumanright @aminata_conteh_biger
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We wish that in 2021 more children can have a safe start in life.

#aberdeenwomenscentre #maternalhealth #sierraleone #safestart #2021wishes @aminata_conteh_biger
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About one year ago @freedomfromfistula welcomed Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex to the Aberdeen Women’s Centre (AWC) in Sierra Leone.

During her visit she learned about the AWC programs that treat children with severe injuries caused by rape and FGM, including paralysis and incontinence. HRH's visit was essential to help raise awareness of the importance to expand the services to support child victims of rape.

@freedomfromfistula
#endviolenceagainstwomenandgirls #endviolenceagainstchildren @unfpa @unicef #handsofourgirls #children #hrhtheduchessofsussex #sierraleone @theroyalfamily #tbt
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Our CEO's memoir is also available at @cityofvincentlibrary

An inspiring story to start 2021

#repost @cityofvincentlibrary

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New books for adults this week include The Power of Disability by Al Etmanski, Sensaton Machines by Adam Wilson, Rising Heart by Aminata Conteh-Biger and All Adults Here by Emma Straub, amongst many more.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Having a baby can cause a huge impact in a women’s life, especially in young women's lives. ⁠

The @AminataFoundation came about following the birth of @AminataConteh-Biger 's two beautiful children. She envisioned women in Sierra Leone to be able to access their basic human rights. ⁠

That’s why we work tirelessly to help as many women as possible to deliver their babies with dignity and safety.

With your incredible support we not only made it through 2020, but our community grew bigger and stronger than ever. Thank you!

Please keep supporting us, motherhood should mark a beginning, not an end.


#inspirational #babies #sierraleone #aminatamaternalfoundation #humanrights #maternalhealth #community #motivate #mumsandbubs #childbirth #womenshealth #changealife #healthcare #newyear #2021
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