Sierra Leone inaugurates free health care for women and children, but major gaps in health care services remain

by IRIN News

A woman and her baby at the government hospital in Makeni, Sierra Leone. In Sierra Leone one in five children die before age five and one in eight women die from pregnancy-related complications, according to the UN Children’s Fund. Photo: Nancy Palus/IRIN

Donors and NGOs welcomed the Sierra Leone government’s launch on 27 April of free health care for some 1.5 million women and children, but health experts say it is just one step in a long, complex process as critical gaps in the health system remain.