Ann Gloag opens maternity clinic in Sierra Leone
Perth millionairess Ann Gloag, pictured, yesterday opened a new clinic in Sierra Leone dedicated to cutting one of Africaâ€™s highest rates of maternal mortality.
The mothersâ€™ clinic is part of the Aberdeen Womenâ€™s Centre in the national capital Freetown, which is managed by the Stagecoach directorâ€™s foundation and provides free surgeries to women injured in childbirth, as well as a childrenâ€™s clinic which treats more than 6,000 youngsters every year.
All services at the new clinic are provided free of charge and, once fully established, it is expected that there will be up to 1200 births there each year.
Yesterdayâ€™s opening ceremony was attended by the First Lady of Sierra Leone and more than 150 guests, including healthcare professionals and government representatives.
Ms Gloag said: â€œIt is inconceivable that, in the 21st century, millions of women across Africa still do not have proper access to quality medical care during pregnancy and childbirth.
â€œFor the â€˜lucky onesâ€™ who survive childbirth, they often lose their child and are left with horrific injuries which render them incontinent.
â€œThe Aberdeen Womenâ€™s Centre has been treating women with birth injuries for the last five years but prevention is the cure so we decided to open a maternity clinic to address the long-term goal of improving maternal health and reducing childbirth injuries, which are devastating.
â€œThe centre can now provide truly holistic care to women and their children through our fistula, maternity and childrenâ€™s clinics and the local and international staff deserve enormous credit for the work they do.â€
Local midwives and medical students will be educated about abnormal obstetric ducts which are caused when a woman suffers injury during prolonged, obstructed childbirth.
Obstetric fistulas in Sierra Leone number an estimated 4500 cases annually, often proving fatal to mothers and children.
Aberdeen Womenâ€™s Centre manager Terri Bilton said: â€œMaternity services here are severely lacking and those that do exist are beyond the financial reach of many expecting mothers.
â€œIn addition, existing healthcare providers are often unfamiliar with many birthing complications
â€œIn the first year, we will train 10 midwives to serve at the unit and we will expand the numbers each year.â€Perthshire Advertiser
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