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Sierra Leone: free health care to mother and child

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Sierra Leone's president says his government will provide free health care to mothers and children in the West African nation which suffers from high rates of maternal and child mortality.

President Ernest Bai Koroma says as part of the program, formally launched Tuesday, free medical treatment will be given to pregnant and breast-feeding women and children under five. He says the government will distribute $10 million in medicines. UNICEF says the campaign will cover more than 1 million children and 250,000 pregnant women and new mothers. UNICEF says it will distribute $6 million in medicines.

Sierra Leone's rates of maternal and child mortality are among the highest in the world. The impoverished country is still struggling to recover from a bloody civil war between 1991 and 2002.