Sierra Leone: the most dangerous place in the world to give birth

Baby grows will be hanging up outside St Martins-in-the-fields throughout Christian Aid Week 2019(Photo: Christian Aid/Adam Finch)

Anyone walking through Trafalgar Square over the next week will be struck by the sight of 150 baby grows hanging outside St Martin-in-the-Fields Church. 

The baby grows have been donated by mothers from all walks of life, including MPs, broadcasters, actresses, bloggers and faith leaders as a statement of solidarity with mothers in Sierra Leone.

The installation has been placed outside the church to draw attention to the high maternal death rate in Sierra Leone. 

Tragically, women there are 150 times more likely to die in childbirth than those in the UK, making it the most dangerous place in the world to give birth. 

According to Christian Aid figures, for every 100,000 live births in Sierra Leone, 1,360 women die.  This is compared to just nine women in the UK.

The high maternal death rate in Sierra Leone was compounded by the outbreak of Ebola in 2014, which killed 10 per cent of the country's healthcare workers. 

In the last five years, an estimated 15,000 mothers have died during childbirth.

The baby grow installation has been set up in London's Trafalgar Square to draw attention to Sierra Leone's maternal health crisis(Photo: Christian Aid/Adam Finch)

Christian Aid said that repayments towards debt that accrued during the Ebola outbreak have added to the crisis by forcing the country to divert money away from improving healthcare services.  It is campaigning for this debt to be dropped.

The installation has been set up at the church as part of Christian Aid Week, which officially begins on Sunday and is the biggest annual fundraiser for the development agency. 

Priest and broadcaster Kate Bottley has joined MPs Luciana Berger, Jo Swinson, Seema Kennedy and Alison Thewliss among others in donating baby grows to the project.

At the end of Christian Aid Week, the baby grows will be donated to families in need.

Christian Aid's media & PR lead Chine McDonald said: "Pregnancy and birth can be an anxious time no matter where in the world you live.

"But as the world celebrates the birth of a new royal baby, let's spare a thought for the women of Sierra Leone for whom pregnancy and childbirth can be a particularly terrifying time due to the country's extremely high maternal death rate." 

To find out how to get involved in Christian Aid Week or to donate, visit or call 08080 006 006, or text 'GIVE ' to 70040 to give £5.*  

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