CARE Hack: Hammocks Save Lives in Sierra Leone

CARE Hack: Hammocks Save Lives in Sierra Leone

Posted
5/27/14

Satta Mansaray lives in a small village, Kamaninkie, in Wara Wara Bafodia chiefdom, Koinadugu district some 4 miles from the chiefdom headquarter of Bafodia.  The village is 25 miles from Kabala, the district headquarter town.  It has a population of about six hundred inhabitants, with no health facility and school. The only means of accessing the chiefdom headquarters is on foot.

Kamaninkie is one of the communities in the Wara Wara Bafodia chiefdom that benefitted from CARE Sierra Leone’s integrated child survival and development interventions. CARE learned that the use of the traditional community mechanism for transporting illness cases to health facilities, the hammock, had been discontinued, due to frequent deaths during transportation.

As CARE staff continued to assess the community’s needs, they found that although community members believed the hammock was the cause of death, the problem was actually with late referrals for emergency treatment. This led to the establishment of the Community Health Club where CARE staff educated community members on the importance of immediate referrals for emergency health care as well as on family planning and maternal health. The Community Health Club re-established the use of hammocks for emergency transportation and a standby force of six strong community members was created for carrying the hammock. The community now works together to repair the hammock when needed and keep it in a safe and easily accessible place.

Satta Mansaray is one woman whose life has been saved by this innovation. She experienced complications during pregnancy and was in critical condition after delivering a still-born baby. Satta was then transported to the nearest health facility by means of the community hammock. Once she arrived, she was immediately treated and remained hospitalized for several weeks. Her life was saved by this emergency care, and now she shares her testimony with her community on the importance of the hammock, and regularly attends the Community Health Club sessions conducted by CARE where she learns about family planning to prevent future dangerous pregnancies. 

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Satta was transported to the nearest health facility by means of the community hammock when she suffered complications from pregnancy. 

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Tagged: 
Sierra Leone
Maternal Health