Sierra Leone ranks number one in the world for deaths of children under five years old. Data from 2006 show that 159 in 100,000 children die before turning one. Unicef blames underinvestment in health care programs as one of the main reasons for the appalling figures.
As one of the agencies working on health care in the African country, the UK Department for International Development is responding to the threat. Senior Regional Health Adviser for West Africa Joanna Reid informed Devex that their initiative to support the Sierra Leone government's reproductive and child health program has been approved. A technical assistance package under the program is currently being negotiated with the Ministry of Health and will be under way soon.
The government is creating a health care plan that will widen access to child and maternal care by developing health infrastructure and financing. The plan aims to eventually abolish maternal and child medical fees.