When I travelled to Sierra Leone, my aim was to report on the work being done in communities to reduce the alarming levels of teenage pregnancy which have been crippling opportunities for girls across the West African nation.
However, when I arrived at the community health centre in Koya, a suburb in eastern Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, I saw the reality of the young women who have fallen pregnant.
On the day I visited this centre, which specialises in maternity care, it is holding its monthly Maternity Open Day.
The modest sized building – located on the side of a dirt road on one of the many manic hillsides in Freetown – is bustling with expectant mothers from the area.
No more than 40 pregnant women – some visibly only teenagers – have gathered to receive health information regarding their pregnancy and the upcoming birth of their child.
Packed into the largest room in the centre, some holding their young babies, others trying to prevent their curious toddlers from going rogue, these women are listening to the session being held by a midwife.
Speaking to Finde Kargbo, a midwife at the centre, she tells me that while a vast range of health information is provided to expectant mothers on these Maternity Open Days, there is one overriding aim of these sessions – to ensure that these women come to the centre when they go into labour.
In Sierre Leone, around 1,360 women die from every 100,000 live births – one quarter of those maternal deaths are adolescents. If open days such as this one can persuade women to go to a health clinic to give birth to their child, it can often be a difference between life and death.
I am then shown the centre’s facilities, including the waiting area for those in labour – where a young woman is pacing around the six single beds, attempting to distract herself from the contractions, an unfamiliar sensation for her as she awaits the arrival of her first child.
When the time came, she would then be brought into one of two labour wards, one of which comprises of just two single beds, which are no more than a few feet apart.
However, despite the run-down physical state of the ward, the expertise of its staff is credit to avoiding many maternal deaths, and delivering their babies safely.
One of the women at the open day was 18-year-old Ballay Fornah, who is eight-months-pregnant with her first child.
She tells me she had been on contraception for a while, but due to side effects and a common myth in Sierra Leone that contraception makes you infertile, she stopped using it.
She and her boyfriend then eventually fell pregnant.
Ballay admits that she is very scared about the upcoming birth of her child, as many of her friends who are young mothers have told her of the pain of labour.
However, she has decided that she will hopefully give birth at the health centre, increasing her chances of a safe birth.