A scream. The gentle voice of a mother soothing her frightened daughter. A muffled sob. A baby’s cry. Then silence.
Somewhere in Sierra Leone, a 16-year-old girl gives birth to a baby boy. The midwives do everything they can, but the mother dies shortly after giving birth.
Somewhere in Sierra Leone, a young woman is weakened by her pregnancy and gives birth to a stillborn infant.
Somewhere in Sierra Leone, a young woman is raped and beaten by her husband. He was the man who is supposed to take care of her and her family.
The harsh reality
This is just a small glimpse into the lives of the girls, young women and mothers in Sierra Leone.
Every year, thousands of women and babies die during the birthing process in sub-Saharan Africa. Sierra Leone is known to have the highest child mortality rate out of the other African countries, and it is also one of the poorest nations in the world.
Teen girls have even a higher chance of death while giving birth than older women. Their babies are also more likely to die postnatally.
Contraceptives are rarely used, and young girls are more vulnerable in situations where they are married off at an early age.
With more nutritional education, support, and safer birthing environments, it is possible to lower the risk of death for both the women and the babies in Sierra Leone.
One of Project Peanut Butter’s goals is to increase the health of women before they give birth to prevent malnourished babies. Studies show that providing proper nourishment is one more step on the right track to giving women and their babies the best chance at living a healthier life.