Giving Compass' Take:

• Health workers in Sierra Leone speak to Global Citizen about the country's high maternal mortality.

• How can maternal health be looked at more closely, and how can funders help focus the conversation on increasing access to surgery?

• Read more about expanding access to life-saving maternal care.

Sierra Leone has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, with an estimated 1,165 deaths per 100,000 live births, according to the UN. This is more than triple the maternal mortality rate of neighbouring Ghana, which sees 319 deaths per 100,000 live births, and more than 160 times when compared to Canada’s rate of 7 deaths per 100,000 live births.

And according to a report by the government of Sierra Leone and UN partners such as UNICEF and UNFPA, 7 out of 10 maternal deaths go unreported, meaning the rate is likely much higher.

That is why the nation’s Maternal Death Surveillance and Response system (MDSR) was established in 2015.

National and district committees were established across the country to investigate maternal deaths — which include the death of any woman during a pregnancy or for six weeks following her delivery.

This system was established in an effort to curb maternal deaths in the country by tracking the deaths, identify the causes, making recommendations at a national level, and working with communities to reduce maternal mortality at a local level.

Sierra Leone’s MDSR program is supported by UNFPA Supplies, the UN program dedicated to increasing access to contraception worldwide with the goal of eliminating maternal deaths, increasing access to family planning, and ending gender-based violence and harmful practices.

Read the full article about preventing maternal mortality in Sierra Leone by Jacky Habib at Global Citizen.