Why We Work in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone underwent a brutal civil war from 1991-2002, which forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, destroyed infrastructure, and decimated the economy. Then, the 2014 Ebola outbreak further weakened the economy. Unemployment remains high today, and medical care is non-existent or difficult to access, especially in rural regions of the country.
Despite strides in maternal and child health care, Sierra Leone’s maternal health outcomes remain strikingly low. Maternal and infant mortality are extremely high. Moreover, many women give birth without skilled attendants who can help them if complications (like prolonged, obstructed labor) arise. Because of these factors, it is estimated that the backlog of fistula cases is higher than reported figures. Current surgical capacity for treating women living with fistula is low, and more women are turned away than can be helped.
Gender inequality, and lack of equal access to education further alienate women suffering from fistula in Sierra Leone. Female genital mutilation is a common practice in the country.
Meet Our Partners
We identify local surgical teams in Sierra Leone already successfully treating women with fistula—and then work to amplify their efforts.