Thank you for your continued support of Partners In Health's efforts to rebuild the health systems in Sierra Leona and Liberia that were destroyed by Ebola.
We're pleased to share with you an article from the Thomson Reuters Foundation that highlights the necessity of strengthening West Africa's health systems. An excerpt is below, along with a link to the full article:
"Rushing from one pregnant woman to another in the antenatal ward of Sierra Leone's main maternity hospital, Josephine, a midwifery student, is all too aware of the danger facing the dozens of expecting mothers under her care.
These women are preparing to give birth in a country estimated to have the world's highest rate of maternal deaths. More than one in 100 women in the West African nation die during childbirth, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
"My niece died during childbirth a few years ago," Josephine, 34, said during a break at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) in the capital of Freetown.
"I wasn't there to assist her, to save her," she said, sweat dripping down her faded lilac scrubs. "Pregnant women must come to hospital regularly so that they can get the help they need."
Despite a chronic lack of doctors, nurses and midwives and a tradition of giving birth at home, maternal deaths were on the decline in Sierra Leone until 2013 - having halved since 1990.
Then Ebola struck. The world's worst outbreak of the virus ravaged the country's fragile health system, killed a tenth of its doctors and scared people away from health centres.
Maternal and child deaths spiked as a result, and the country's maternal mortality rate soared to 1,360 deaths per 100,000 births last year from 1,100 in 2013, U.N. data shows.
The government and the United Nations say they have learnt lessons from the Ebola epidemic, which sparked a fresh drive to improve the health system - on which less than 10 percent of the state budget is spent - and reduce maternal deaths.
"Ebola was a necessary evil,"a midwife adviser for the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "It was an eye-opener which showed the issues facing our health system. Now we must tackle them."
Those issues include training more midwives, coaxing doctors back from abroad, boosting blood donations and ensuring women give birth in health facilities, health experts say."
Partners In Health is committed to alleviating the health crises that continue to plague West Africa in the wake of the Ebola epidemic. We thank you for your generous support - we could not do this work without you.