Intended for healthcare professionals


Sierra Leone’s maternal mortality rate is a “human rights emergency”

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 22 September 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3908
  1. Peter Moszynski
  1. 1London

    One in eight women in Sierra Leone risk dying during pregnancy or childbirth, says a report from Amnesty International. The charity’s secretary general, Irene Khan, said that this was partly due to the “extremely low status” of women in rural areas and was explicitly linked to the lack of women’s rights.

    Lack of medical facilities and transport in many districts mean that a skilled birth attendant is present at less than half of deliveries in Sierra Leone and that less than a fifth of deliveries take place in healthcare facilities. However, “underlying the issue is the denial and neglect of maternal mortality in a male-dominated society,” says the report.

    Ms Khan explained: “In rural areas women …

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