Sending books and saving lives
Sierra Leone has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world. Healthcare practitioners like Dr Joan Shepherd and her team at the National School of Midwifery in Freetown are working hard to change that.
Here Dr Joan explains how books you help to send are educating midwives, saving mothers and giving new-borns a healthy start to life.
Our country has suffered many crises like the civil war, Ebola outbreak and a devastating mudslide. These events killed thousands – including many healthcare workers – and damaged the healthcare infrastructure.
Today, we have the highest maternal mortality rate in the world – 1,165 mothers die per 100,000 births. We are not proud of that statistic but we are working hard to change it.
Institutions like ours are training midwives who are saving pregnant women and caring for new mothers and newborn babies. Training midwives about safe labour will help reduce the maternal mortality rate. And midwives imparting knowledge to new mothers will help reduce the chances of their new babies becoming ill.
Our weapon is books. When a midwife uses books and puts the knowledge into practice, it’s life-saving.
If a midwife is in difficulties – let’s say they have a very difficult delivery – they consult the books.
When we are armed with knowledge, we are powerful. When dealing with childbirth, we don’t want women or babies to die. We need to have the knowledge and the skills to save lives.
That’s why we were so excited when we received brand new medical books. Our midwives now have access to modern textbooks featuring new developments in treatments to help them prepare to face any challenges on the ward.
These books have strengthened our midwifery school and many more institutions like ours which have also received books from Book Aid International.
The end beneficiaries are the pregnant women, new mothers and newborns receiving safe care.
We are not there yet, in terms of reducing the maternal and infant mortality rates, but we are working on it – and we always need more books! Medical books are constantly being updated with the latest developments so they are always needed.
I’d like to say a big thank you to you and all those who support Book Aid International.
Your donations are invaluable – they impact positively on the lives of those who use the books and we promise that we will make good use of them.
We would like to thank our partner Practical Tools Initiative who ensure the books you help to send reach the healthcare professionals, hospitals and medical training institutions that need them most.