Exploring the impact of the Ebola outbreak on routine maternal health services

Exploring the impact of the Ebola outbreak on routine maternal health services

In May 2014, Sierra Leone, along with Guinea and Liberia, was hit by the biggest Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic ever recorded. Up to August 2015 there have been 8696 confirmed cases and 3585 confirmed deaths in Sierra Leone. The effect of the EVD outbreak is not just related to the disease itself but on public health services also, particularly in maternal and newborn care.

This study looks at the impact of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) on the provision of maternal and newborn care within basic or comprehensive emergency obstetric care (BEmONC and CEmONC) facilities across all 14 districts of Sierra Leone. A comparison of the pre-EVD period (May 2013-April 2014) and 12 months of EVD (May 2014-April 2014) was made.

The research indicates that despite adequate numbers of Health Professionals showing up to work during the epidemic, it was the pregnant women who stayed away from health centres for fear of catching Ebola. Consequently, many women and newborns died at home from complications during childbirth. Had they had medical assistance, they may have survived.

This report provides a number of recommendations for District Health Management Teams and the MoHS take account of current levels of service provision and the impact of EVD on uptake of services. 

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