591 Exhibition - Ann Johansson
A fisherman shows his hands, calloused from pulling the net, in Aberdeen
near Freetown, Sierra Leone, November 15, 2008.
Zainab Mansaray, 20, sleeps with her newborn baby who was delivered
by c-section at the Princess Children Medical Hospital in Freetown,
Sierra Leone, November 19, 2008.
Nurse student Salimatu Kondeh puts a note with time of death on
Francis Koroma, 3, who died from typhoid, at the hospital in Bo,
Sierra Leone, December 4, 2008. Typhoid is a treatable illness but
Francis was brought to late to the hospital.
Children attend school in Kenema, Sierra Leone, Dec. 15, 2008.
The exhibition has ended.
I feel priviligued to be able to show you this excellent reportage by photographer Ann Johansson. She is a freelance photojournalist based in Los Angeles. Her work from Sierra Leone is important. The world Bank has estimated that the current financial crisis will trap 90 million more people in poverty in 2009.
Between 1.4 and 2.8 million more babies may die by 2015, if the crisis persists and 1 billion people could go chronically hungry this year. Those are horrifying facts.
Ann's reportage gives an insight to what these figures mean to children and their families. It is a strong, compassionate work. It is notable photography. - Mr Urbano
There are many factors causing Sierra Leone to have the worst child mortality rate in the world where 28% die before they are five years old.
Despite being a country rich in natural resources, fertile lands, ocean access with commercial fishing possibilities and a wealth in minerals such as diamonds, Sierra Leone ranks last on the United Nations Development programs list.
People lack basic knowledge about nutrition and hygiene.
Many get by on subsistent farming, rather than eating the crops they grow people sell their vegetables leaving people malnourished. Only 8% of women know that they should exclusively breastfeed the first six months unknowingly exposing infants to potentially harmful bacteria.
The country has 5 000 primary schools but only 300 secondary schools. Few children are able to finish their schooling as parents either can’t afford to keep them in school or the children are needed to help with work.
A brutal civil war that ended in 2002 left most of the country with little or no infrastructure.
Only 46% of the population has access to clean water and there is little proper sanitation with more than 70% of people living in poverty. There is sporadic or no electricity in most parts of the country, most transportation routes are dirt roads that become impassable during the rainy season and the best way to communicate is via cell phones, something few can afford.
The country’s healthcare system is challenged both by a lack of skilled professionals and a lack of adequate equipment. Sierra Leone, with a population of 6.3 million people, has 8 gynecologists, 3 pediatricians and 30 midwifes.
All these challenges cause children to die from basic illnesses the most common being pneumonia.
Photos and text © Ann Johansson
website Ann Johansson Photography