Barely 72 hours after President Koroma proclaimed free health care for pregnant women, lactating mothers and under-five children; First Lady Sia Koroma yesterday opened a maternity centre in Aberdeen, West of the city.
The maternity clinic is part of the Aberdeen Women’s Centre (formerly known as the Aberdeen West Africa Fistula Centre founded by Mercy Ships), which is managed by the Gloag foundation, currently provides free surgeries to women injured in child birth, as well as a children’s clinic which treats more than 6,000 children every year.
The centre has the capacity to deliver 1,200 babies each year in the maternity clinic, treats up to 500 women each year in the fistula clinic and treats more than 6,000 children each year in the out -patient clinic.
The goal of the centre is to provide mothers in Sierra Leone with quality care during childbirth injuries, as well, as helping to reach the Millennium Development Goal 5 which aims to reduce maternal mortality across the developing world.
In her statement, First Lady thanked Ann Gloag and the Gloag foundation for this wonderful investment in the lives of our women and children. She said “we are confronting a health crisis not only in Sierra Leone but in Sub-Saharan Africa”, adding that this crisis is called maternal mortality.
The addition of this maternity center is evidence that our fight against maternal mortality is gaining momentum. This center will play a crucial role in helping the people of Aberdeen, she said.
Mrs. Koroma reiterated that, “in our fight against maternal mortality, we should never feel hopeless because we must always remember that difficult times and circumstances always lead to better days.”
She further congratulated the President and government of Sierra Leone for taking the bold step to grant free health care service to pregnant women, lactating mothers and under-five children. The First Lady stated that this free health care will positively affect the quality of lives of our mothers and babies.
Mrs. Koroma emphasized “I am determined to make an impact by engaging Sierra Leonean women to take on a significant role in nation-building and community development thus helping to improve the quality of life of the disadvantaged in our society”.
To the workers, nurses and the people of Aberdeen, she urged them to be tolerant, and make use of the facility as this will help us in our fight against maternal mortality.
Founder of the Gloag Foundation, Ann Gloag said they decided to open a maternity clinic as part of the centre in order to address the long-term goal of improving maternal health and reducing child birth injuries which are devastating.
“We are delighted to be working with the government of Sierra Leone and support its recent announcement to provide free healthcare to women and children”, she said.
She stated that the centre can now provide truly holistic care to women and their children through the fistula clinic, maternity clinic and children’s clinic and the local and international staff deserve enormous credit for the work they do.
Wife of the Vice President Kadijatu Sam Sumana also spoke of her projects aimed at restoring the dignity of women and girls. A conducted tour of the centre was made and also 50 baby packs were given to be distributed from the Office of the First Lady. The ceremony was chaired by Terri Bilton. By Abibatu Kamara