Founded by Mrs. Isha Daramy in Lunsar, Sierra Leone, ‘Friends of Maternity Hospitals’ is a non profit organization that partners with all maternity wards around Sierra Leone to help reduce natal mortality. It focuses on training nurses how to best deliver babies, assist women in labor and reduce the mortality rate of both mothers and babies. Trained in the United Kingdom at one of the best Midwife institutions in London, Mrs. Daramy brought her expertise back home to Sierra Leone to educate nurses and midwives who work in conditions challenged by lack of water, electricity, equipment, medication and staff.
In addition to Hospitals, programs such as ‘Safe Motherhood’ are held biweekly. Pregnant women and young mothers are invited to participate free of charge and trained on the correct ways to breastfeed, as well as learning about balanced nutrition and hygiene and sexual health. These trainings are done by professional nurses employed by ‘Friends of Maternity Hospitals’ and all services are free of charge, including the food, diapers, infant clothes and medication given to the attendees during the session. In 2022, after three decades of working mostly with pregnant women, services were extended to teenage girls who are at high risk of pregnancy that forces them to drop out of school. Counseling youth, facilitating discussions about menstrual hygiene, birth control and sexual health have been critical components in helping prevent unwanted pregnancy while keeping girls in school. With centers in Lunsar and Magbil, this organization provides underserved communities with free services.
In rural areas of Sierra Leone, medical facilities are scarce; the Magbil Medical Center has served thousands of people from surrounding villages for over thirty years. Currently, the Magbil Center needs funds to build a fence to protect the pregnant women and all other patients. According to the United Nations, the maternal mortality rate in Sierra Leone is the highest in the world with 1,360 mothers dying in every 100,000 live births. The mortality rates of neonates, infants and children under five are also amongst the highest worldwide at 34, 82, and 111 deaths per 1,000 live births, respectively. Reducing natal mortality rates by helping one woman at a time, in the country with the highest global statistics, has been the work of this organization that needs our attention and support to continue its important work.