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BO, Sierra Leone, 15 November 2022: “I often get a sense of satisfaction going home after work reflecting on the safe deliveries I perform saving the lives of both the mother and baby,” remarks  Francess Johnny, a midwife at the Bo Government Hospital and the midwife in charge of the hospital’s labour ward.

Although Sierra Leone faces one of the highest maternal mortality rates globally at 717 per 100,000 live births, the country is accelerating efforts to progress towards the SDG target of reducing maternal mortality to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030. One of the critical investments required to achieve this goal is meeting the internationally recommended standard of four midwives for every 10,000 women.

The Saving Lives in Sierra Leone Programme funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, through UNFPA supports the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to train midwives in all the three midwifery schools.

UNFPA further supported the Bo Government Hospital to improve the quality of emergency obstetric and new born care services to reduce maternal and newborn mortality.  These measures included the extension and refurbishment of the labour ward and the establishment of a dedicated maternal High Dependency Unit to address obstetric emergencies. 

Francess Johnny explains that with UNFPA’s support to the hospital and to the training of midwives, the number of safe deliveries has increased, contributing to the reduction in the number of maternal deaths in the country.


“Despite the challenges, we are here to serve our communities and to ensure the lives of mothers and their babies are safe. Our focus is to contribute to reducing maternal mortality by conducting safe deliveries and we are proud of this work,” Johnny says.


She commends the Government of Sierra Leone and partners, including UNFPA, for supporting the training of midwives. “In the past, we used to have over 1,000 deaths for every 100,000 live births. Today, this has reduced to 717 but we know the Government wants these numbers to come down to less than 300 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2025. We are committed towards this ambition,” Johnny says.


She adds that “As a midwife, helping a woman deliver safely gives me satisfaction. I always go home and reflect on my work and I feel proud of my contribution. I am grateful that the Government and development partners like UNFPA are supporting the training of midwives. This said, I personally will appeal for continued support.”

Media Contacts:

John Baimba Sesay | Web and Media Analyst | UNFPA Sierra Leone | Tel. +232 30953193 | e-mail: