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Healing Mothers’ Hearts: LFAM's 15-Year Sierra Leone Journey

For an extensive duration, LFAM has played a pivotal role in Sierra Leone’s well-being, delivering vital medications and deploying trained midwives — an enduring commitment that traces its roots to a critical juncture in 2008.

In 2008, LFAM responded to the urgent call from the United Nations Population Fund to assist Liberia and Sierra Leone in reducing their Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR), which was among the highest in the world. At that time, the UK’s MMR was 1:5,800. Designated by the UN as the most dangerous place on earth to have a baby, Sierra Leone’s MMR was 1:7, and Liberia’s was 1:8. Both were war-torn countries with healthcare systems decimated by years of civil war. Any treatment had to be paid for by people whose average income was around $1 a day. Due to the wars, the currency, the Leone, which was initially valued at 1 Leone = $1 before the civil war, had depreciated. When LFAM became involved in 2009, the exchange rate was $1 = Leones 5,000. That rate is now $1 = Leones 26,000.

LFAM has been supporting this beautiful country, with its stunning beaches and welcoming people, since 2009. Medications to prevent or treat haemorrhage have been sent, along with UK-based midwives who share their skills and return home with a renewed appreciation for the resources around them. Visiting a country like Sierra Leone is both humbling and life-changing, and despite the modest accommodation, mosquitoes, and occasional tummy upsets, almost every single person asks to return.

Following the end of Ebola and COVID-19, LFAM returned for visits when the local staff showed eagerness to learn and share the skills acquired over years of poor resources.

In recent years, there has been a real air of optimism and a bright future for a country that has suffered so much. The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) is decreasing, and inward investment is visible, with new buildings and hotels springing up.

LFAM has a local Board of Trustees and Advisors chaired by Dr. Ibrahim Thorlie, the country’s most senior obstetrician.

Our linchpin is Mr. Morlai Kamara, LFAM’s Country Director, who, along with our trusty volunteers, looks after the medications stored at the Mercy Ships Aberdeen Women’s Hospital, and the midwives who visit. Every possible arrangement is in place ahead of the visits, with safety being paramount when caring for the medications and the midwives.

As we witness decreasing Maternal Mortality Ratios and the emergence of a brighter future, LFAM invites you to join hands in our mission. Your support can continue to empower midwives, prevent postpartum haemorrhage, and contribute to the resilience of these communities. Whether through donation, volunteering, or fundraising, you can be a vital part of creating a positive impact in maternal healthcare.


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