WNF runs a Maternal Outreach Program (MOP) in which pregant women in rural areas get maternal services and information on birth planning and contraceptives.
The Maternal Outreach Project (MOP) aims at paying visits to remote villages around Masanga Hospital, providing maternal health services to pregnant women and advising the community on birth planning and control.
Pregnant women in these villages often face multiple barriers in reaching hospitals, due to poverty, lack of transport or poor infrastructure. As a result thereof, they lack sufficient maternal help and are sometimes at risk during child birth. That might be one of the main reasons of the relatively high Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) in Sierra Leone.
The MOP interventions focus on:
- running antenatal ultrasound scans on pregnant women, making timely diagnoses and early referral of high-risk pregnancies possible
- providing information on safe birth giving, contraceptives as well as hygiene and nutrition.
These interventions are performed in collaboration with local midwives and nurses, who operate from Clinical Health Centers (CHC’s). These ‘Maternity Agents’ speak the language, know the local culture and gain trust of men and women to overcome barriers to go to the hospital. While properly trained, they can better advocate for safer child birth.
Sierra Leone is one of the world’s least developed countries and has a Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) of 1120 per 100.000 live births. The MMR may be reduced by simple, low-cost interventions to hard-to-reach areas, focusing on diagnostics of pregnant women as well as early referral of high risk preganancies.
The maternal outreach service was tested by Masanga Hospital in a pilot in 2021. The results showed the need for collaboration with the Community Health Centers (CHC’s) and Traditional Healers. A professional intervention logistics system is needed for planning & control of visits to the remote villages as well as a sustainable follow-up on the women that are referred to the nearest hospital.
WNF stepped in to create an additional opportunity for her sponsored students to operate as certified scanner in the maternal outreach interventions. As a result thereof, they may gain a wealth of work experience in rendering obstetrics services in the field of maternal health.
In order to assess the impact of the scanning and examen the cost effectiveness of the interventions, an evidence based research will be conducted. A baseline has been defined and data will be collected and processed during the outreach interventions. A team of the University of Copenhagen will do the analysis work.
The study will be guided under the final responsibility of a professor of the University of Trondheim (Norway). Hopefully Sierra Leonean students can be included in the reserch as well.
The substantiation of the results of the project will ultimately ensure that future intervention attempts are meaningful and capable of improving lives for families in rural Sierra Leone.