Wales’ bishops have joined in the call to support mums in Sierra Leone this Christian Aid Week (12-18th May 2019) and to draw attention to the stark reality that women in Sierra Leone are 150 times more likely to die in childbirth than those in the UK.
This year’s Christian Aid Week campaign draws attention to the high maternal death rate in Sierra Leone – the most dangerous place to become a mum. 10 women die giving birth every day and one in nine babies do not reach their fifth birthday. An estimated 15,000 mothers have died during childbirth since the Ebola crisis in 2014.
Women in Sierra Leone face a lack of access healthcare, including trained midwives and healthcare professionals. If there is no clinic in their village, pregnant women in rural Sierra Leone can wait up to eight hours before an ambulance arrives. Others travel to hospital on the back of a hired motorbike, but the poorest have no choice but to walk for hours on foot. Many women and babies do not survive the journey, particularly in the hunger months from May to December when food is scarce.
Christian Aid is helping remote communities come together to build health clinics as well as training nurses to provide urgent care in communities and improving hygiene, so mothers and babies are more likely to fight off diseases. Watch the story of Tenneh Bawoh and Nurse Judith here.
This Christian Aid Week churches and communities across Wales will stand together to raise awareness and funds for Christian Aid’s vital work globally. From house-to-house collections and sponsored walks; to Big Brekkies and quiz nights; communities in Wales will come together one community against global poverty, so everyone can have fullness of life.
Bishop Joanna Penberthy (pictured) said, “This is a such an important appeal. In the UK we take good antenatal care and medical support in childbirth for granted. As someone who almost died giving birth, I know first-hand how important it is to have all the right help and care in place. In supporting Christian Aid’s work, we can make a difference. Please give today.”
Head of Christian Aid Wales, Mari McNeill said, “Christian Aid Week is a joyful celebration of our potential to change the world, through generosity, solidarity and action. Across Wales this week we’ll see a flurry of outreach and activities. All these events and collections bring people together, which is what Christian Aid does. It enables us to reach out in solidarity to people across the world who are trapped in desperate poverty.
“Sierra Leone is the most dangerous country in the world to give birth in, by a long margin. It was still recovering from civil war when the Ebola crisis hit. The outbreak killed one in ten health care workers and left the country with significant debt.
“These can seem like impossible situations to tackle – but it is remarkable what can be done when we stand together.”
£300 could provide a delivery bed for a new health centre giving mums a safe place to deliver their babies. A sum of £60 raised could buy a starter kit for community health workers, which includes a bicycle, torch, rain coat and rain boots. Just £15 could buy a stethoscope or a bucket of paint for a community health clinic.
Christian Aid is also inviting supporters to join its campaign to drop Sierra Leone’s debt that was incurred during its fight against Ebola, in 2014-2016. It was the worst outbreak of the disease in history, killing 10% of the country’s healthcare workers. Debt repayments are taking money away from improving healthcare services that is so desperately needed.
This Christian Aid Week, individuals and groups can help to change the lives of people by donating online at caweek.org calling 08080 006 006, or texting ‘GIVE’ to 70040 to give £5.*