It’s a long ride on a non-motorable road to Pujehun district in the south of Sierra Leone. We are on a visit to see how the country’s Free Health Care Initiative (FHCI) for pregnant women and young children is working out.
In the maternity ward of the district hospital, a woman proudly shows us her new born baby – it’s her third child and fourth pregnancy. But, more importantly, her first child to be delivered in a hospital. She is among the thousands of women who have delivered in hospitals for the first time since the introduction of free health care. Are we seeing early signs of a change in health seeking behavior among the poor in the country?