AWARENESS TIMES
Sierra Leone News & Information

State House | Press Union | Lumley Beach | AllAfrica | SL-Web

www.awarenesstimes.com

  Giving Knowledge to the People
welcome to sierra leone's premier news source
Last Updated: Sep 17th, 2010 - 19:55:49 
Front Page 
 
 NEWS
 Breaking News
 Local News
 Politics
 Photo News
 Video News
 
 EDITORIALS
 
 SPECIAL REPORTS
 Afsatu Kabba
 
 COMMENTS & OPINIONS
 Moiie's Column
 
 FEATURES
 
 ENTERTAINMENT
 
 PROFILES
 Role Models
 Awareness Lady
 Common Man
 
 THE ECONOMY
 
 NOTICES & DOCUMENTS
 Special Messages
 Legal Matters
 Obituaries
 
 PAID SUPPLEMENTS
 
 ADVERTISEMENTS
 
 SATIRE
 
 FROM OUR TEAM
Search


Published online by
Sylvia Blyden Dot Com

17 Garrison Street,
Freetown,
Sierra Leone.
Tel: +232-77-772001
Tel: +232-88-321000
Tel: +232-76-350077
Tel: +232-30-321001
Email:
editor@awarenesstimes.com
Website:
www.awarenesstimes.com

FEATURES  

Interview with Dr. Fredanna MíCormack: ĎBele Uman Projectí
By
Jun 28, 2010, 13:05
Email this article
 Printer friendly page

Healthcare in Sierra Leone, West Africa, faces enduring maternal mortality rate among pregnant women and lactating mothers and their infant kids. I conducted an exclusive interview with Dr. Fredanna MíCormack, whoís conducting a research in SL, and providing data that would help reverse the current trend. Hereís an excerpt of the interview:

Roland: Welcome professor, or may I call you Fredanna? Itís my pleasure to interview you. How and why was the ĎBele Uman project: Saving mother, saving livesí, conceived?

Fredanna: Yes indeed, you can call me Fredanna. The reason why we (Fredanna, her sisters Fredline MíCormack-Hale and Freida MíCormack and colleague John Yannessa) started this project was because of our concern over how many pregnant women were dying giving birth. At the time the maternal mortality rate was between 1800 and 2100 per 100,000 populations. I had done some research in the past and an internship with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and really found this problem to be widespread. To further understand this problem, my colleague, Professor John Yannessa, and I applied for a small grant to conduct research. As it is focused on saving lives of pregnant women in Sierra Leone, we coined the phrase.

Dr. Fredanna MíCormack

RM: What is your background and why is this project geared toward the welfare of pregnant mothers and their babies?

FM: First and foremost, I am a Sierra Leonean and my heart is always with folk in the motherland. Anytime I have the opportunity to do something in Sierra Leone, I seize the opportunity to do it. My siblings are the same way. Also, I have an interest in the overall wellbeing of women. I have worked at womenís centers as a rape awareness coordinator and a volunteer advocate for victims of sexual assault, rape, and domestic violence. I have worked with the Women Infants and Children Supplemental Food (WIC) Program in the US trying to improve the health status of pregnant women in St. Louis, Missouri by improving their nutrition. I also did an internship in Kenema, focusing on the emergency obsteric care (EMOC), which looks at improving pregnancy outcomes by getting pregnant women to the hospital in enough time for them to deliver. The experience was eye-opening because of the difficulties pregnant women face and saw the complications that could arise when pregnant women did not seek delivery services in a timely fashion.

A couple of years ago, I conducted a research project in Freetown as part of dissertation for my PhD in Health Education, to determine what factors may influence pregnant womenís anemia status. Poverty, lack of transportation and limited access to necessary supplements were always raised or identified as problems the women faced. I felt that a lot more needs to be done and I am glad the opportunity has arisen to enable us to build on the previous research and move forward with this project.

RM: Walk us through the project, including the research strategy you wish to employ in achieving your objectives, the financial challenges and the credibility factor.

FM: I will be working closely with nurses such as Alice Kabbah in Kenema, Wuyata Kelfala, and others particularly at the Kenema Government Hospital and in rural Kenema to identify pregnant women and post natal women who have recently given birth. We hope to interview about 300 such women to ask them about their pregnancy experiences and the choices they made to deliver at home or at a PHU or in hospital. We also want to ask them about their experience, since the government has recommitted to providing free health services to pregnant women. For those healthcare officials/health workers in the field, we would like to ask them what challenges exist in providing health service.

Unfortunately, due to time constraints and funding restrictions, we will only be able to go to Kenema district. However, as the project develops and we receive additional funding, we hope to expand our scope of research and focus on preventive measures not just emergency response. Down the line, we would like to develop training programs for service providers, educational programs for pregnant women, and alternative opportunities for traditional birth attendants, based on the findings of our research.

RM: Why is this project personally near and dear to your heart?

FM: While I was in Kenema, I met a woman who delivered a stillborn baby. I also met young 17 year-old girl Hassanatu, who changed my life. Being poor, uneducated, and arriving at the hospital with a complicated pregnancy, Hassanatu came to the hospital really late after almost thirty hours of labor and the pregnancy was obstructed. The babyís heart rate was really low and was experiencing severe distress. The only available outcome for Hassanatu was to get a cesarean section (c-section) an operation that cost Le 250,000 approximately US $80 at the time. This is an astronomical amount of money for someone whose household income was less than $30 a day for a family of six (including the unborn). In addition, the doctor on duty was reluctant to perform the surgery if he was not paid upfront. Hassanatuís story seemed like it would have a grave outcome. Thankfully, because of EMOC services provided by IRC at Kenema Government Hospital and interested parties, who rallied to raise money for a necessary cesarean section, Hassanatu delivered a very weak baby girl the next day (16 hours after arriving at the hospital) via c-section. During the night, Hassanatu was in severe pain but was cared for by the nurses at the hosipital. After the baby was born, she needed oxygen for those first few hours. At that moment I knew that something needed to be done to make sure that more women do not face the complications Hassanatu faced.

With the Sierra Leone governmentís implementation of free health care services for pregnant women, I hope that women will be able to feel comfortable using the medical services available. Also, I hope that the health care services include transportation to the health care facility, provision of delivery services, and cesarean services conducted by able physicians. We have to find ways in which a womanís hopeless financial resource does not determine that womanís pregnancy outcome. I am looking forward to more happy endings. Right now, a healthy, precocious 2 and half year-old, who bears my name Fredanna is in Kenema and I am so happy that I was part of her story of survival.

RM: How will this research help bridge the gap between Sierra Leone, United States and other countries as far as health care is concerned?

FM: Right now, this is a relatively small project. With just enough funding provided by Coastal Carolina University and Seton Hall University for data collection equipment, supplies, travel and stipends for interviewers. We hope that when people hear and see our efforts, they will be willing to invest their time, services, expertise, money, and equipment toward this worthy cause.

We plan to share the results of the research to the global community to be used as baseline and a foundation to develop appropriate and effective programs. Sierra Leoneís commitment to provide free health care services for pregnant women and children could be the beacon for other countries to address what is usually a needless tragedy.

RM: Are there future plans to expand your study beyond the borders of Sierra Leone?

FM: Right now we are just taking the project one day at a time. With the Bele Uman name, it is geared towards Sierra Leone. However, as the project progresses, who knows where we will end? Only time will tell what God has in store for this project.

RM: What is your long term vision for the project: Do you have any other message to convey to the world?

FM: HmmmÖlong term, we see this project being part of a larger cause that addresses girls and womenís issues more broadly, and which also impact maternal health outcomes. These include working on teen pregnancy prevention, sexual rights empowerment and crisis pregnancy counseling, all of which are related to improved pregnancy outcomes.

My message: God has given each of us a destiny that can be fulfilled. If you can think it, with Godís grace, you can do it, so make it happen!

Roland Bankole Marke © 2010

Roland B. Marke is a Sierra Leonean writer, commentator and activist for the poor and vulnerable. Heís also the author of Teardrops Keep Falling, Silver Rain and Blizzard and Harvest of Hate: Stories and Essays (Fuel for the Soul). Visit his website on: www.rolandmarke.com


© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Top of Page

Latest Headlines
NEWS
In Sierra Leone, Poisonous ĎSugarí Kills in Kambia District
In Sierra Leone, Two Kenema Youths Drown at Lumley Beach
In Sierra Leone, Boost for Waterloo Bread Sellers
EDITORIALS
Encourage Moseray Fadika and Frank Timis the Romanian
National Judiciary Deserves to be Heard
We Do Not ďNegotiateĒ for Space with Anyone!
SPECIAL REPORTS
Afsatu Lectures Students against Violence
Afsatu Kabba Launches Women Organization
Sierra Leone's Opposition Resident Village Idiot flies out to U.K. and Ghana today
COMMENTS & OPINIONS
Paul Kamara: Fitness vs. Eligibility
Maada Bio: SLPPís Foolish Aspirant!
Journalist Paul Kamara & Justice Tolla-Thompson: Our National Constitution Must be Obeyed!
FEATURES
WIMSAL at 3ÖÖWhat hope lies ahead for Women in the Media?
Reproduced by Popular Demand: No Junior Secondary School Built at Tondola Junction
Sierra Leone's NPRCís Tom Nyuma, Sierra Rutile, Vimetco, John Sisay & the Inquest for late Bambay Kamara
ENTERTAINMENT
Sierra Leone's Video-Journalist Abdulai Jalloh marries his Sweetheart, Cecilia
ĎNor Look En Faceí Takes Over the Airwaves in Sierra Leone
PROFILES
A TRIBUTE TO THE LATE MRS. HANNAH BABY NELLIE GADD - A Role Model
Haja Afsatu Olayinka Kabba: A Muslim Woman of Excellence!
THE ECONOMY
Sierra Leone Government in Serious Embarrassment as Businesses Shut Down over New Tax
NOTICES & DOCUMENTS
In Memory Of Hon Dr. Salia Jusu-Sheriff ďMaadaĒ
Cape Lambert Marampa lron Ore (SL) Limited Wishes HIS Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, Vice-President Chief Alhaji Sam Sumana
The Latest Leaked US Embassy Cable from Wikileaks Website concerning Sierra Leone
PAID SUPPLEMENTS
Marampa Can Achieve Late 2012 Start-Up With Maiden 200mt Jorc Resource Representing Only 20% Of The Mineralised Strike
Koidu Holdings Explains Blasting Incident at Koidu Kimberlite Project Mine Site
Presenting Professor Dr. Ritchard Tamba MíBayo
ADVERTISEMENTS
NASSIT and HFC offers 28 Newly Built Houses for immediate Sale in Sierra Leone
African Minerals (SL) Ltd Job Vacancy
JOLLIBOY! - Solomon Pratt's Book is now available for Purchase Online
SATIRE
XXXXXXXXXXXX THE CIA SPY
Letter To Tech: The Political ĎDomboloí in Kono
President Koroma Fires One: Maybe the Cabinet Reshuffle Has Commenced?
FROM OUR TEAM
Schulenburg Should Behave Himself
No Edition out for today from Freetown, Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone's Awareness Times Publisher Never Collected a Single Penny for P.R. let alone Ten Million Leones monthly!

Copyright © 2005 - 2010, Awareness Times Sierra Leone; All Rights Reserved.
Hosted & Designed by West Africa Dot Net