Saving Lives in Sierra Leone (SLiSL) has developed a comprehensive programme website (www.savinglivesinsierraleone.org) which will serve as a central information repository and knowledge database, providing access to programme resources for internal and external audiences.
Funded by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the SLiSL programme is aligned to the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) health strategy and seeks to support priority, cost-effective interventions to improve health service delivery and save the lives of mothers, babies and children, while building towards resilient universal health coverage. It is implemented by a range of partners: a United Nations consortium, an NGO consortium known as ‘Unite fɔ Sev Layf na Salone’ (UNITE) and Montrose. Montrose provides the monitoring, evidence, learning and review (MELR) component of the programme.
Sierra Leone has some of the worst health indicators in the world, particularly in relation to infant and maternal health. In 2015, the country had one of the world’s highest estimated maternal mortality ratios, at 1,360 deaths per 100,000 births. Fertility rates are high: 35% of women give birth before the age of 18.
The programme aims to:
- Improve basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care (BEmONC/CEmONC)
- Improve reproductive health services (including for adolescents)
- Increase the demand for family planning
- Train health workers in family planning
- Tackle barriers to access by providing outreach services
- Increase availability of essential medicines for the Government of Sierra Leone’s (GoSL) Free Health Care (FHC) initiative, which also ensures a continuous supply of family planning commodities
- Improve nutrition through child malnutrition screening and nutrition supplements for pregnant women and children, as part of a new multi-sector nutrition strategy developed with support from SLiSL
Since its inception the programme has registered several achievements including the expansion of the practice of death reviews, surveillance and response so that deaths of mothers, babies and children should be used to learn why the death happened and how to make changes to ensure further instances can be avoided. The aim of these reviews is to see changes occurring to prevent any unsafe practices occurring and protect future patients.
SLiSL also works to improve health facilities so that services can be delivered to a higher quality. Eight EmONC facilities have been built or renovated so that they are now able to provide a better quality of care for mothers and children.
The SLiSL programme has also worked to install water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in health centres across the country. The programme also runs service provision and education outreach sessions and community awareness-raising and youth-directed media/communication initiatives to increase demand for family planning services. Health workers receive special training on a variety of family planning methods.
Visit the Saving Lives in Sierra Leone website for more information.