In the tiny African country of Sierra Leone where civil war has been the norm for years, a new hope has been found by the World Bank to saves infants lives by reducing the number of at home deliveries. The reason these home deliveries occur is because a lack of infrastructure exists and, the larger reason, a fee must be paid for woman to have their baby delivered. The World Bank recently worked in tandem with Sierra Leone to subsidize health programs, killing the fee for many. The New York Times reports the new program is making a significant difference. Once can’t argue with results like this:
The results in Sierra Leone have been “nothing short of spectacular,” said Robert Yates, a senior health economist in Britain’s Department for International Development, which is paying for almost 40 percent of the $35 million program, with most of the rest coming from donors like the World Bank. Since waiving the fees, Sierra Leone has seen a 214 percent increase in the number of children under 5 getting care at health facilities, a 61 percent decrease in mortality rates in difficult pregnancy cases at health clinics, and an 85 percent drop in the malaria fatality rate for children treated in hospitals, according to figures Mr. Yates supplied.“We have signs that there are positive results,” said Vijay Pillai, the World Bank country manager in Sierra Leone.
In recent years, Zambia, Burundi, Niger, Liberia, Kenya, Senegal, Lesotho, Sudan and Ghana have gone to some form of free care, particularly for pregnant women and young children, Mr. Yates noted two years ago in the health journal The Lancet. Rwanda has been offering nominal rates for health insurance for over a decade, and after fees were dropped in Burundi in 2006, average monthly births in health facilities rose by 61 percent and Caesarean sections went up by 80 percent, he found.