LSTM Master’s student Rie Takahashi is currently in Sierra Leone conducting research into why health care workers continued to provide maternal and newborn care at the height of the Ebola epidemic despite the risks to themselves and their families.
Rie is conducting the research for her dissertation in the Masters in Public Health supervised by the Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health (CMNH) which has been working with the Government of Sierra Leone to improve maternal and newborn health in the country since 2009.
Previous research by CMNH has shown the negative impact of Ebola on the uptake of maternal and newborn health care, which resulted in a 30% increase in maternal deaths and a 24% increase in newborn deaths. The Ebola epidemic also caused the deaths of 221 health care workers, who were dedicated to continuing to provide care for their patients despite the risks to themselves. Rie will be interviewing health care workers from health facilities in the Western Area of Sierra Leone centred on the capital of Freetown. Results from Rie’s research should be available in August 2016 and will help further our understanding of how best to support health care workers to continue to provide vital patient care during humanitarian crisis.
“It was my great pleasure to meet all the amazing people working so hard to save lives, especially to improve condition of maternal and child health. I do hope my research will contribute to improve the situation of human resource for health in Sierra Leone, for those people who work hard most on the ground.”