This web-documentary contains content relating to pregnancy loss, childbirth and loss of life which some viewers may find upsetting.


First-person stories of healthcare in Sierra Leone

The Road To Recovery

When improving a health system, it is important to listen to the people in it. These are their stories, told to On Our Radar’s network of community reporters, and their ideas for making it stronger.

When you get sick, where do you go?
Who do you turn to?
It might seem like a simple question but, for us in Sierra Leone, it isn’t.
We face many obstacles just to get the basic medical care we deserve.
Hospitals are few and far between and, in the countryside, transport is limited.
A long and winding journey awaits and, sometimes, things happen on the way that we can never expect.
For young Sundu, that meant giving birth under a coffee tree.
Malaria infects and kills thousands of us every year.
But doctors can do little to help unless we seek help quickly.
Time is always against us.
And sometimes, for little Ibrahim and so many others, it is just too late.
You never forget the day you find out you are pregnant. 
When you lose that child through no fault of your own, your world falls apart.
Luckily, Mariama was blessed with the gift that she always dreamed of.
No person is an island.
But when you live on one, a simple paddle boat is the quickest way to get to the nearest clinic. 

Our dedicated health workers do their best in tough circumstances.
But, as Aminata found out, difficulty lies beneath the choppy waters.
When a loved one arrives at hospital...
...they should feel safe and looked after.
When that doesn’t happen, it stops you in your tracks.
And you start to question, as Nasiru did, whether people even care that you’re alive.
No one should have to walk nine miles to get treatment.
No one.
Here, in the village of Kayako, we decided enough was enough.
So we built ourselves a lifeline, brick by brick.

Where do we go from here?

Rather than just point out the current challenges, On Our Radar has worked with communities across Sierra Leone, as well as healthcare professionals and other in-country partners, to come up with a People’s Healthcare Manifesto.  The manifesto sets out the changes that Sierra Leoneans would like to see made to the healthcare system, with the overall aim to improve primary and tertiary care across the country.

You can read it and share it onwards here