Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa, with an estimated population of close to eight million people. Between 1991 and 2002, the country experienced a civil war that left more than 50,000 people dead and its infrastructure destroyed with over two million people displaced. The country’s economy is yet to fully recover after the effects of the civil war.
The lifetime risk of dying while having a baby in Sierra Leone is 1 in 17. That is about 500 times more dangerous than having a baby in Australia where the same figure is 1 in 8,700. The country has been ranked third lowest in terms of the Mothers’ Index, which assesses the well-being of mothers and children. Almost 3,000 women and 20,000 children die annually from preventable health-related conditions, a situation that has been further compounded by the spread of the Ebola virus.