By: Mohamed Bakarr Kamara
In its continued bid to improving the health of women, children and families in Sierra Leone, the Mama-Pikin Foundation has donated buckets containing a sheet of plastic, wrappers, soaps and cash to two deprived community health centers – the York Community health center in the Western Area Rural District and the Grey Bush Community Health Center in the country’s capital, Freetown.
The Mama-Pikin Foundation got it’s support from the AKA African Alliance, which is a global network of members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. & associates who support women’s empowerment and service projects in Africa. The AKA African Alliance provided support for delivery buckets for the month of April.
The Mama-Pikin Foundation is a non-profit corporation founded in Atlanta, Georgia in 2008 by two doctors of Sierra Leonean descent. It goals are to help enhance, improve and otherwise positively contribute to the health and well being of mothers, children, and families in Sierra Leone, West Africa.
The Mama-Pikin Foundation has been providing a delivery bucket to every woman who delivers a baby at their supported clinics since 2008. Each bucket contains a sheet of plastic to provide a clean surface area for delivery, a Lappa (cloth) to wrap the baby, and a bar of soap. Each bucket costs about $10and they have distributed over 15,000 buckets so far. These buckets have been very successful in decreasing maternal and neonatal infections, and in providing an incentive for women to go to the clinics to deliver. Dangerous home deliveries have been decreased substantially in the areas served by the Mama-Pikin Foundation-supported clinics.
York is a small coastal fishing town in the Peninsula, located in the Western Area Rural District of Sierra Leone. The Mama-Pikin foundation over the years has been supporting the health center in the village with incentives aimed at encouraging women to give birth at hospital.
Lansana Fofanah who is the community health officer said the number of delivery in the center has increased significantly due to the intervention of the Mama-Pikin Foundation. He also said pregnant women now visit the center for their antenatal care, which has helped reduce the complications of childbirth. “Every woman who delivers at the center gets a bucket containing sanitation packages”, he said.
Momodu Sesay is the Program Manager for The Mama-Pikin Foundation, he assured the centers’ management and beneficiaries of their continued support to improving saving the lives of women, children and their families through their interventions.
“Our long term goal is to ensure we improve the health outcome in the country, increase health center delivery, reduce maternal mortality and discourage home deliveries” Sesay said.
Sesay revealed that the Foundation also provides money to pay for transportation for every pregnant woman who delivers in the supported clinics. The organization provides support for about 120 pregnant women in the eight health facilities where the Foundation operates. He encourages women to always ensure they visit the health centers when pregnant.
One of the beneficiaries, Banadette Williams expressed appreciation to the Foundation for it intervention in encouraging them to deliver at the health centers through the incentives. She mentioned how the items given to her during her delivery process helped her. She urged other women not to deliver at home because of the associated risks.
Another beneficiary, Elveria Mohoi narrated the constraints they encountered in securing those items before the intervention of the Mama-Pikin Foundation. She said it was economically tough for them, but appreciated the Foundation for coming to their aid.