Health Indicators of Pregnant Women in Tonkolili District, Rural Sierra Leone

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jun 1;17(11):3918. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17113918.


Despite having reported one of the highest maternal mortality ratios and neonatal mortality rates in the world, surprisingly little is known about the general health status of pregnant women in rural parts of Sierra Leone. Malaria, anaemia and malnutrition are known contributors to adverse pregnancy outcomes. Although their prevalence is known to be high, the burden of these conditions in the rural pregnant population remains unknown. Our study aimed to gain more insight into the health status of pregnant women. An observational retrospective descriptive study was conducted at the Lion Heart Medical Centre using antenatal care (ANC) registers. The study revealed high prevalence of malaria (35.2%), maternal undernutrition (10.4%) and anaemia (65.9%). The proportion of teenage pregnancies in the ANC population was 16.4%. Both malaria and anaemia were more prevalent in this group, with odds ratios of 2.1 and 1.7, respectively. The findings reveal alarming high rates of anaemia, acute undernutrition and malaria among pregnant women and high numbers of pregnancy among adolescents, with increased health risks. These results will be used to advocate for a malnutrition program, specifically for pregnant women. Our study further emphasises the importance of preventing malaria and anaemia in pregnant women.

Keywords: Sierra Leone; adolescent pregnancy; anaemia in pregnancy; antenatal care; malaria in pregnancy; maternal malnutrition.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Malaria
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rural Population
  • Sierra Leone