The African country - notoriously the worst place in the world to get pregnant - is finally allowing women to give birth for free...
From the 27th April, Sierra Leone is finally due to scrap its healthcare fees for pregnant mums and children under 5 – one of the last 3 African countries still officially with the system in place to call an end to it.
Sierra Leone is notoriously the worst place in the world to get pregnant, one reason being that it costs $40 to deliver a child in hospital and $100 if you need a caesarean when 70% of the population live on less than $1 a day.
Currently, due to barriers such as these fees, 1 in 7 children die before their 5th birthday in Sierra Leone, and 1 in 8 women die due to pregnancy complications.
Taking a deeper look, you can see why it has been so tough for pregnant women to successfully have kids in Sierra Leone – women who have been circumcised, a common practice in the country, are more likely to have problematic first deliveries, for example.
And, because parts of the country allow for polygamy, the value of a woman’s life is so low that families are not be able to or simply don’t want to pay for their healthcare. On top of all that, the country only has 5 gynaecologist/obstetricians, and 95 midwives serving over 3 million women.
The news comes as a huge relief for charities like Save the Children, who have been campaigning strongly against the pregnancy fee system for years.