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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.

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HEALING THROUGH MEMOIR Interviewed by: Kam Insay In her interview with Poda-Poda Stories, Aminata Maternal Foundation’s Founder and CEO, Aminata Conteh-Biger shared her background, what inspired her to write her memoire the     “Rising Heart” and conveyed her thoughts about the commemoration of the “National Day of Reconciliation in Sierra Leone”, Aminata detailed what she had […]

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AMINATA CONTEH-BIGER, THE ACTIVIST ON HOW TO DIAL UP THE JOY IN YOUR LIFE Interview & story by: Zoe Briggs Aminata sat for an interview with Zoe Briggs for Beauticate.com to talk about how to dial up joy in your life. Aminata shared her life story from her loving family life in Sierra Leone to […]

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Let us virtually travel to Aberdeen Women's Centre during our 2019 visit - our CEO @aminata_conteh_biger with the Dream Team as pictured above

Here in Sydney as we find ourselves in an extended lockdown due to COVID-19, we can appreciate the access that Australians have to quality healthcare, warmth and shelter provided in our humble abodes (and the ability to stay connected via Zoom calls during periods of reduced face-to-face contact!).

In celebrating the 2021 United Nations World Population Day today, at the Aminata Maternal Foundation we are reflecting on how the rest of the world is managing with compromised health care systems. The area of sexual and reproductive health in particular is impacted as many countries are experiencing concern over changing fertility rates. United Nations Population Fund (formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities [UNFPA]), emphasises that educational, economic and political empowerment of women enables autonomy and control over choices regarding their body.

Did you know, only 55% of women have the power to make their own decisions about their bodies? The current pandemic has exacerbated gender-based inequities, notably in Sierra Leone as the teenage pregnancy rate continues to rise. During the Ebola crisis, teenage pregnancies in Sierra Leone saw a 66% increase and it is anticipated that another surge will result from the COVID-19 crisis. To combat this our Dream Team project collaborates with the Aberdeen Women's Centre located in Freetown, Sierra Leone to provide support to re-integrate teenage mothers into their communities post-birth.

References for further reading🌏:
https://www.un.org/en/observances/world-population-day

https://aminatamaternalfoundation.org/mission/our-projects/the-dream-team/
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@breakingglasspod New Episode Alert ⚡ Aminata Conteh Biger (@aminata_conteh_biger) grew up in a well-off family in the capital of Sierra Leone where her father prioritized education and opportunities for his six daughters. She had a happy and protected childhood until a truly devastating civil war broke out in her country resulting in the deaths of more than 50,000 individuals. She herself was kidnapped for seven months before fleeing as a refugee to Australia. Aminata’s own story of survival doesn’t end with the war. After rebuilding her life in Sydney, Aminata endured the traumatic birth of her first child which ignited a passion for maternal health. The founder of Aminata Maternal Foundation (@aminatafoundation), Aminata has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and changed thousands of women's lives in Sierra Leone, which has some of the worst child and maternal mortality rates in the world.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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#AminataContehBiger #SierraLeone #AminataMaternalFoundation #RisingHeartBook #MaternalMortality #InfantMortality #Healthcare #HumanRights #WestAfrica #WomenSupportingWomen #LiftEachOtherUp #ElevateWomensStories #GenderEquity #BreakingGlass #WomenLeadingTheWay #BreakingGlassPodcast #EvokeMedia #Womanhood #GlassBreakers #GlassCeiling #Global #WomensVoices #WomensStories #BreakingGlassCeilings #WomenEmpowerment
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NEW RELEASE ✨Episode 3️⃣
Aminata Conteh- Biger is a woman, is a voice, is a presence, that every human needs to know. She is sunshine , epitomising strength and transforming any darkness she encounters into light. She has endured things that no person, that no woman should ever have to endure, and consequently, her presence in society illustrates that love and truth and shining pure hearts filled with goodness can and do and forever will, conquer. She is love in human form; a beacon of hope for us all.

@aminata_conteh_biger @gennachanelle

📸 @sarahfountainphotography @onelovefilmsbondi @zoltanfecso @jenna_pratt_ @innkeeperstudios @fujifilmx_au

🌟 In an effort to build connection and unify, @gennachanelle shares the voices of our earth angels - who are each deeply committed to healing our world. 🌟

🔗 https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/the-loving-podcast/id1564380858
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The former sex slave saving lives in Sierra Leone

She survived months as a sex slave and escaped to Australia as a refugee. Aminata Conteh-Biger can't change the past but now she's ready to help the future of her homeland, which has become the world's most dangerous place to give birth. (An SBS Production) CC #DaughterofSierraLeone #DatelineSBS #Documentary

*** SBS Dateline’s Daughter of Sierra Leone has won a New York Festivals International TV and film silver award in the Health/Medical Information category. ***

A must-see documentary. To watch the full-length episode, copy this link into your computer’s internet browser: https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/881784387906/dateline-s2017-ep4-daughter-of-sierra-leone
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We are very excited to announce the five contest winners of the poignant, humanistic memoir 'Rising Heart' & we wish you all a great read: @littlebisous @kirsty_brooke @uglyflatlaysx @lifewlinda @karthika.menon 💖💖💐

Congrats to everyone who participated! Let us express our gratitude, heartfelt thanks and appreciation to every one of you for the part you played and continue to play in fulfilling Aminata's vision and our organisation’s mission. Each day we are getting closer to our goals and by purchasing a copy of the book, you contribute to improving maternal and newborn healthcare in Sierra Leone.

We invite our winners to write to us by private and direct message on Instagram to provide us with their full name and delivery details x
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This is Alice’s hospital bag. Alice is a 30 year-old single mother living in poverty in Freetown. She came to the Aberdeen Women’s Centre to give birth. When she arrived she found out that she was expecting twins which made her labour more far more dangerous and complicated. Thankfully, Alice was able to safely deliver her two beautiful twins. However, we want to draw your attention to Alice’s hospital bag. She simply arrived with a plastic bag. Inside the bag was a single blanket, a plate and a shirt.
In Sierra Leone, 1 in 8 mother’s die from child birth. In Australia, this figure is 1 in 8700. This devastating statistic highlights the reality for so many mother’s and babies in Sierra Leone. With your help, we can start to put an end to infant mortality in Sierra Leone. Motherhood should mark a beginning, not an end.
#amfmumsofmay #aminatamaternalfoundation #mothersday #hospitalbag #sierraleone
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𝐆𝐈𝐕𝐄𝐀𝐖𝐀𝐘 𝐓𝐈𝐌𝐄!

For the month of May, we celebrate all mums 🤍 no matter what form they take, in all their care and nurturing of others or any form of terrestrial life.

We are giving away up to 5 copies of Rising Heart as a prize for both the winners and the winning tagged account(s).

To enter, tag anyone who is a supportive light in your life, like, share and follow our account @aminatafoundation.

Enter as many times as you like on each account’s posts this month. 1 tag per comment, 1 comment per entry.

Winners will be drawn and notified after Mother’s Day. This competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by Instagram. If you get contacted that you are the winner of this competition, please check to make sure the account contacting you is legitimate before giving out any personal details.

𝐏𝐚𝐧 𝐌𝐚𝐜𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐧 𝐀𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐚 𝐱 𝐀𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐚 𝐌𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐅𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 @aminata_conteh_biger #AMFMumsofMay #mothersday #mumsofaustralia #motherhood #abcmyphoto

( Australian Book Designer: Debra Billson )
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