AN ILLUSTRATOR is helping to launch a fundraising campaign to help babies in Sierra Leone.
Chloe Robertson, from Petersfield, is trying to help the country battle its problems with maternal mortality, which is the highest in the world.
Chloe will be teaming up with famous illustrator, political cartoonist and author Chris Riddell, alongside hundreds of school children throughout the UK to draw and write stories to help illustrate the challenges and solutions to saving the lives of mothers and babies in Sierra Leone.
The country has a maternal death rate which is three times higher than the average sub-Saharan African country, with one in 17 women still at risk of dying during pregnancy or childbirth.
The outbreak of Ebola has made the situation even worse as the number of women giving birth in health care facilities, where they receive skilled care, has fallen. Chloe said: “I was touched hearing the reality of the Drawing Breath campaign.
“The wellbeing and safety of babies and children is the single most important thing I can think of. Giving birth should be an amazing time in your life but for so many mothers, it’s life threatening.
“Yet simple things such as a blood pressure cuff and a solar light would save the lives of hundreds of mothers.” A recent report by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in Sierra Leone indicated the loss of life could be even higher, with maternal death rates being under-reported by as much as 76 per cent.
The highlight of the campaign will see Chris Riddell filmed in his studio as he illustrates live a mother and baby clinic in Binkola.
He said: “Hearing your baby take its first breath is one of the most important moments in life. I wanted to illustrate the simple solutions that will give so many babies the chance to draw their first breath and save so many lives.”
Cash raised during the campaign will go towards training, blood pressure cuffs, solar lights and pulse-oximeters, to help medics monitor the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream.
Make donations at: www.vsointernational.org/draw