By Sabrina Mahtani, Amnesty’s West Africa Researcher.
Ebola has affected every area of life in Sierra Leone, and made it even more challenging for pregnant women to get the care they desperately need. Activist Fatou Wurie talks about her personal experiences of maternal health care there.
I want to tell you about a young girl I met two years ago. I walked into a community health centre expecting to meet 50 traditional birth attendants for a training seminar. Instead, I walked into a labour ward and saw a placenta discarded on the floor. A young mother was bleeding and in tears, and her new-born baby boy was fighting against the odds to live.
The midwives in their neon pink uniforms asked me to help clean the mother up while they resuscitated the baby. I didn’t ask questions, but mechanically helped the mother clean up and calm down. The new-born was still not breathing, his airway was blocked and the small health centre did not have the equipment they needed to save his life.