Despite donors and partners interventions in the health sector of Liberia, health care delivery has and continues to be a serious challenge. Two out of every 10 rural pregnant women in Liberia dies from childbirth.
Most bearing causes of these deaths are not necessarily lack of medication at various local clinics and hospitals; it is greatly contributed by lack of accessible roads. The most prone locations in Liberia are Southeastern and western part of the country, the middle-belt counties comprising these two locations are Grand Cape mount, Grand Kru and Sinoe, these counties with hilly and mountainous topographies has an appalling road conditions making it difficult for local dwellers who walks 6-12 hours in order to receive medical attention to die.
For direct account women in Porkpa District of Grand Capmount County are usually being transported to hospital even at the point of delivery by means of Hammock [a swinging mat knitted together with fore-bear arms usually for afternoon feaster tied between trees] and in frequent cases by the time they gets to the hospital after 6-12 hours walk the pregnant woman dies, sometimes enroute. In these typical areas roads in several parts of these localities are beyond deplorable and villages beyond prime points are usually inaccessible. According to an Aid worker of Irish national, after witnessing one incident of the appalling condition passionately said “these people indeed are surviving by the grace of God”.
In addition to poor road condition some notable areas have no clinics, even if clinics do exist there are no trained midwives [60% of trained medical personnel in Liberia refuses to serve in the leeward counties]. In a related account, the second business capital city of Liberia; Grand Bassa county, NO-Way Village in District #2 is experiencing the same similar situation, when African Voices went in and about on health findings with emphasis on maternal health, the spokesperson for NO-Way Village Mr. Alfred Geezay told African Voices that in 2013 more than 11 pregnant women died while they were being transported in Hammock to St. John River Clinic [a local clinic about of about 8 hours walk] in the district.
With this appalling situation on maternal death and prevention, the Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA] in Liberia Ms. Ratidza Ndhlovu has given her organizations support and remains committed to continuously galvanized and provides the needed support to women and children of Liberia. In reaffirming the organizations commitment to African Voices she said UNFPA is glad to remain a trusted partner in ensuring that no woman dies while giving berth in Liberia. The UN agency support to maternal health and new born has come a long way with mountainous pressure and have been urged to save women and children especially in daring situations. Commenting during the assurance event on reduction of maternal death, Ms. Ndhlovu said the only way to reduce maternal death is to encourage pregnant women to visit health centers for pre and postnatal care, in addition to lack of good road.
According to the World Health Organization [WHO] “everyday in 2010 about 800 women died due to complications of pregnancy and child birth, including Sever bleeding after childbirth, infections, hypertensive disorders, unsafe abortions and inadequate facilities like good accessible roads and infrastructure. Out of the 800,000 440, 000 deaths occurred in sub-Sahara Africa and 230, in Southern Asia compared to five in high income countries. The risk of a woman in a developing country dying from a pregnancy-related causes during her lifetime is about 25 times higher compared to a woman living in a developed country [take Liberia as case study where bad road network is a contributing factor in several deaths of pregnant women]. However as maternal mortality is a health indicator that shows very wide gaps between rich and poor both between countries and within them ” UNFPA is aptly in position to focus on maternal and child health at the hospitals and clinics in order to see the much needed result.
As high level of neonatal death in Liberia rises, UNFPA and government of Liberia have embarked on an outreach campaign to make Liberia a zero maternal and infant mortality through preventive and medical accessibility to the dare in need pregnant women.
Jacob Eagan Bright
African Voices, Liberia