Free Health Care Initiative: Impact on pregnant women and lactating mothers 

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By Jariatu S. Bangura

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, Concord Times reached out to pregnant women and lactating mothers in order to gauge the impact of the Free Healthcare Initiatives in government hospitals and some Peripheral health units in Freetown.

Zainab A. Kamara, a pregnant woman, who frequently visit the St. Anthony’s Clinic where she receives anti-natal care, told Concord Times that, she was not benefiting from the free healthcare initiative because whenever drugs are prescribed for  her she will be directed to buy them at a  nearby pharmacy, using  her own money.

Aminata Kamara, a lactating mother, who received her anti-natal care at the King Harman Road Hospital, said much has not been done for patients as most times the drug administered to them are paid for.

She said after giving birth, she also had to give some token after treatment and after the administering of vaccine to her child.

 Abibatu Jalloh, a pregnant woman who visits Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) where she receives anti-natal care, described the atmosphere as good and commended the efforts of healthcare workers.

“Even though there are some challenges but the doctors and nurses are doing their best by attending to us each time we go for check-ups,” she said.

She, however, noted that government needs to do more in terms of providing drugs as most times patients buy their own drugs.

Nancy Koroma, a lactating mother with twin babies said she prefers attending a private hospital where she is assured of receiving better healthcare service.

Sharing her experience attending government hospital, Koroma  recalls that she nearly lost her second pregnancy due to lack of attention by healthcare workers.

Maria Sannoh, a pregnant woman also said she had to go to a private hospital because her husband demanded her to do so for her to access better medical attention and for the good of her child.

She urged that government should do more and gives attention to government hospitals and provides sufficient drugs.

Mariatu Mansaray, now lactating mother, who visited Macauley Street Hospital for anti-natal care, said the medical team has been trying to provide the services needed, but noted that much should be done as most times drugs are being paid for at a nearby  pharmacy for her under-five child.

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