The Cradle project

• Koinadugu and Falaba, Sierra Leone •
• 2022 •

• In Partnership with Welbodi Partnership •

The Issue

Sierra Leone has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, with high rates of neonatal mortality. 1 in 17 women will die during their lifetime in childbirth; risks are 40-60% higher for teenage mothers. Infants of mothers who die are up to 10 times more likely to die within the first 2 years of life. Unfortunately, there are often disparities in access and availability of blood pressure devices to measure vital signs and understanding around how to respond, leading to delays in management and escalation of care. 19% of health facilities in SL don’t have a single BP device and 82% of maternal deaths in SL occur in a health facility, linked to poor quality of care.

The Project

In partnership with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, we have provided funding for 300 CRADLE devices with 102 large cuffs, which are point of care vital signs devices with traffic light systems to detect early complications of pregnancy in the community. The devices have a strong evidence base, with the CRADLE 3 trial showing a 60% reduction in maternal mortality. Additionally, we have sponsored 3 teenagers to be mentored across their pregnancy, to provide support in antenatal care, having a hospital birth and setting up a business to ensure a regular income. This develops a sense of agency and community engagement, with proven positive outcomes.

The CRADLE project was completed in collaboration with the Welbodi Partnership. Learn more about them by clicking the button below.

The Outcome

The CRADLE devices and cuffs have been distributed in two districts and our project has also funded the training of 67 healthcare providers, public health officials and community champions. The CRADLE 5 trial is ongoing and full data will be available from 2024.

We have received testimonials from Hannah and Memuna who were mentored through the programme. Both women have been funded through vocational college, to qualify as an electrician and a plumber respectively, so they are able to generate an income to support their families.

Hear about Hannah’s & Memuna’s Stories

“Thank you so much ‘Make a Medic’ for your generous donation for 2 Young Lives bursaries.  These bursaries make a huge difference to the futures of the girls we are mentoring.  Here are a couple of recent stories of how we have used your donation.”

“Hannah (not her real name) lost both her parents in the mud slide of August 2017.  Going to stay with distant relatives in a part of Freetown where she knew no one, she became pregnant with a boyfriend who bought her clothes and food.  She was 15.  One of the mentors noticed her and explained what 2 Young Lives was.  She was glad to have a caring adult in her life again and started to thrive; she was given money to start a small business of selling casava leaf in the market and started eating well again. But sadly at 7 months pregnant, things went wrong and Hannah had a stillbirth. Her mentor continued to embrace her into her family, encouraging her and spending time with her.  She helped her to think about her future and suggested she considered vocational training.  She visited the college with her and Hannah signed up for a course in electrical installation.  The bursary paid the fees and for some of the equipment that Hannah needed to buy. She supplemented this with money she had made from her small business.  Hannah was given an internship in a big national supplier, and did so well that at the end she was given a job.  She is now 17 and can fully support herself and the elderly relative she lives with. She is also saving for her future.

Memuna (see photo) attended the same college (Lifeline Vocational Training Institute.)  She studied plumbing and at 18 is now a qualified plumber, providing for her little girl and her extended family.  

Both of these outcomes could have been very different if we had not been able to provide the bursaries.  Very many thanks.”

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