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Leaving nobody behind

As Christian Aid Week approaches, Thomas Baldwin learns about the charity’s work in a project working with mothers and babies in Sierra Leone.

THERE are many obstacles to trying to improve health outcomes for pregnant women and their babies in one of the world’s poorer countries, but one of them comes from a surprising source.

“Sometimes women are also oppressors of other women,” says Jeanne Kamara, Christian Aid’s country director for Sierra Leone. “So for example, in terms of maternal and child health, decision-making is often in the hands of the mother-in-law. So if the mother-in-law says ‘I had all my sons at home with a traditional birth attendant from down the road’, who are you to say you want to go to hospital?” The response to this, Jeanne says, has been to incorporate the traditional birth attendants into the formal health service.

“They’re not delivering babies any more, but their skills are being used in terms of outreach work. I think it’s changing the thinking and the minds of the birth attendants, and getting them to play a different role in convincing pregnant women to use the health service.” This is just one aspect of the Ellis-Hadwin Legacy, a three-year, £2.9m programme to improve health and gender equality in Burundi, South Sudan and Sierra Leone.

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About Life and Work

IN THIS ISSUE THE PARLIAMENT AND THE CHURCH The 20th Anniversary of the Scottish Parliament ASSEMBLY 2019 'Meet the Moderator Designate' Timetables and reports to this year's gathering 'LEAVING NOBODY BEHIND' Christian Aid Week 2019 plus much more....