On their bikes – for Sierra Leone

A team from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine’s Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health (CMNH) is cycling 4,247 miles to raise funds for urgently needed medical equipment for maternal health facilities in Sierra Leone which have been affected by the Ebola outbreak.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, will launch the event on Monday 20th April at 11am, when the first two cyclists will kick off the journey, which is the equivalent of the distance between Liverpool and Freetown in Sierra Leone. The team, along with other staff and students at LSTM have five days to cover the distance on exercise bikes in LSTM and at the University of Liverpool Sports and Fitness Centre.

Ebola has decimated health services in Sierra Leone, which was already estimated to have the highest maternal mortality rate at 1,100 per 100,000 live births before the Ebola Epidemic. There is emerging evidence that even more maternal deaths are occurring, both as a result of the virus and due to the lack of availability of routine care, with the focus being on the fight against the virus in what is already a fragile health system.

This appeal aims to raise £3,000 for urgently needed medical equipment for the following health facilities; the George Brook Clinic in Freetown, the Kenema Government Maternity Unit and the Kailahun Government Hospital Unit, where CMNH have been working as part of their highly successful Making it Happen Programme.

Head of CMNH, Professor Nynke van den Broek, said: “Our mission is to improve the availability and quality of healthcare for mothers and babies in low and middle income countries. We have been working in Sierra Leone since 2009, supporting the Ministry of Health to build the capacity of its health care workers and the whole team was determined to do whatever we could to continue to support mothers and babies in the country.”

If you would like to donate, please go to our Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/LSTM-On-Your-Bike/ or if you would like to take part please contact Pam Atkins-Jones at pam.atkins-jones@lstmed.ac.uk