Saving Mothers' Lives in Sierra Leone and Liberia

Saving Mothers' Lives in Sierra Leone and Liberia
Saving Mothers' Lives in Sierra Leone and Liberia
Saving Mothers' Lives in Sierra Leone and Liberia
Saving Mothers' Lives in Sierra Leone and Liberia

Project Report | Nov 21, 2017
How a Referral Slip Can Make a Difference

By Nhi Tong | Communications Intern

Meet Zainab
Meet Zainab

When Zainab first experienced abdominal pain, she was not aware of her pregnancy. It was only after a BRAC community health promoter (CHP), on a routine visit, handed her a referral slip for a local health center, did Zainab learn: she was having a baby.   

At 20 years old, like many women and adolescent girls living in the poor communities of Freetown, Sierra Leone, Zainab was not ready for her first pregnancy. As the jarring statistics show, Sierra Leone is one of the most unsafe countries for a mother to deliver her baby: 1,360 mothers die for every 100,000 births.

Zainab had never learned to prepare for the unfamiliar signs of pregnancy that she would develop. The sheer lack of resources for low-income women and girls, especially young mothers like Zainab, is one of the many factors that contributes to the high rate of maternal deaths in Sierra Leone.  

Thanks to the support of donors like you, BRAC works to ensure that Zainab and other women like her do not join those statistics. With the referral slip from BRAC in hand, Zainab visited the health facility.

For the first time, she could openly discuss her pregnancy with trained health workers and receive professional advice on how to have a safe delivery. Zainab was given appropriate medication to alleviate her abdominal pain, and she learned that she should eat more nutritious food and avoid physically hurting herself.  

Zainab began visiting the health facility regularly; the staunch support from the BRAC health workers helped her become more confident as her delivery day approached. She also made several important decisions: that she wanted to give birth at the health center, that she would breastfeed, and that she would immunize her baby.

During this time, in collaboration with partners, BRAC also reached more than a thousand youths across ten poor communities in Freetown, as a key implementer of “Pull Slum Pan Pipul,” a program that educates girls and young women about sexual and reproductive health, and equips them with other vocational skills that support sustainable livelihoods.

Zainab didn’t pass up the opportunity.

She joined other community members at the health meetings to continue to learn about sexual and reproductive health. The program’s vocational training also equipped her with specialized skills, including how to prepare specialized ingredients as a chef.

Her newfound knowledge inspired Zainab. After her baby is born, she says she wants to open her own restaurant.

“I will become a successful business woman,” she said.

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Organization Information


Location: New York, NY - USA
Project Leader:
Melyssa Muro
Finance Manager
New York , NY United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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