Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa, with an estimated population of close to seven million people. Between 1991 and 2002, the country experienced a civil war that left more than 50,000 people dead, its infrastructure destroyed with over two million people displaced. The country has never really recovered economically from that war.
Mothers in Sierra Leone face one of the highest lifetime risks of maternal death in the world, with 1 in 17 likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth. Women here are at four times greater risk of dying in childbirth than those in Afghanistan. The country has been ranked as one of the lowest three, in terms of the Mothers’ Index, which assesses the well-being of mothers and children. Millions of women and children die annually from preventable health-related conditions, a situation that has been further compounded by the spread of the Ebola virus.
- 5 women die every day from pregnancy-related causes.
- 11,000 newborns die each year
- 70% of the population live in poverty
- The female population accounts for 52% of the total population
- Women of the reproductive age group 15–49 years constitute approximately 25% of the population
- The average total fertility rate is 5.1 children per woman
- Life expectancy is 47 years
- The Government spends only $10 on the health needs of each Sierra Leonean per year, way below the World Health Organisation’s recommended $54 per person per year