A Healthier Start to Life
“Before there was a health clinic in our community, I was pregnant, about to give birth and in labor pain for two weeks.”
Aisatou, now the proud mother of a 5-month-old, struggled through two prior pregnancies in due to the lack of a professional health care provider in her village in Sierra Leone.
“[During my first pregnancy,] I was taken from one Traditional Birth Attendant to another. Finally I was taken to the Binkola Clinic, about 12 km from my village where I gave birth,” said Aisatou.
“I suffered a lot. I was nursing my child when war broke out.. I could not get help at the health center and I was using medicinal herbs instead. After some time, my child died.”
Due to a lack of health centers in many of the villages in which ChildFund International now works, soon-to-be mothers did not receive proper pre- or post-natal care. Births attended by untrained personnel result in high maternal mortality rates. One-third of deaths that occur among infants and young children under the age of five happen in the first months of life.
With proper pre- and post-natal care, both mother and baby can have a healthier start at life.
Aisatou became pregnant with a second child and had another unattended birth in her village. This time, her baby became sick with tetanus due to an unclean knife that was used to cut the umbilical cord.
“I went to the urban area where there is a health clinic in Makeni,” said Aisatou. “The nurse said that they would try to help but there would be no way they could do much because they were short on medicine due to the war.”
On the third day of her stay at the clinic, Aisatou’s second child died.
Soon after she returned to her village, health care personnel affiliated with ChildFund and the local Munafa M’Patie Federation, began visiting Aisatou’s village with a mobile clinic.
“I got medication from the mobile health clinic and later became pregnant again,” said Aisatou.
“Because of ChildFund, I can become pregnant now and not fear I will lose the baby. My child here is a testimony to this story. I gave birth to this child and have not fallen sick because of the good health education, care and food supply that I have received from the nurse.”