The UK is supporting the delivery of the Free Health Care Initiative for pregnant and nursing women and children under five years old which was launched by the President of Sierra Leone in April 2010. The purpose of the UK's support is to reduce maternal and child mortality in Sierra Leone which is among the worst in the world.
The support to health workers salaries has both retained and increased the number of health personnel in the public health sector which is better able to manage the increase in demand for services as a result of the Free Health Care Initiative. The aim of the Initiative is to provide free health services for up to 460,000 women and 1 million children each year. After its first year of operation there has been solid progress with 1,993,000 additional under five consultations of which 1,160,000 were treated for malaria; 39,100 more women delivered their babies in a health facility; and 12,000 maternity complications were managed in health facilities with a 60% drop in the fatality rate in these cases.