The Basic Needs: Fighting for Survival in Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone by all accounts should be the Saudi Arabia of Africa with its vast natural resource wealth. The West African nation is one of the most diamondiferous regions on the planet and yet they rank last in livability by UNICEF and the United Nations and boasts one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates on the planet. According to the 2008 Sierra Leone Demographic and Health report, nearly 1 in 10 infants and 1 in 8 mothers die during childbirth in the impoverished West African nation. One in five children, or 20 percent, dies before the age of 5. The life expectancy hovers around the age of 48 years with some of the leading causes of death attributed to preventable diseases such as malaria, streptococcus and pneumonia. So why does a country with so much wealth leave it’s people in such desperate circumstances and what can we do to help?
Steps are being taken by the government to address these issues. Yet, ten years after the end of the bloody civil war that killed and maimed thousands of people there is no visible change. Hospitals are forced to perform delicate procedures in the equivalent of field hospitals with little funding and resources. One group has made a difference though.
The WellBody Alliance under the direction of Sierra Leonean native, Dr. Bailor Berry and American Dr. Dan Kelly are leading the way and introducing several outreach programs and services to rural areas. The clinic has served more than 10,000 patients in the past year up by almost 5,000 from the year before. Unfortunately, there is long road ahead for the people of Sierra Leone. Unemployment has settled around 70 percent, considered an optimistic number by some with little hope in the process for the future.
This photo story explores some of the aspects of healthcare in Sierra Leone.