(Gbarnga – 16 September 2013)The head of the traditional midwives in Bong County, Madam Gbargo Cole, has lauded the medical charity Africare for its strategic support to Bong County’s health system.
Speaking recently at the newly constructed Phebe Maternal waiting home in Suakoko District, Madam Cole said Africare’s intervention in Bong County is minimizing maternal and infant deaths in the county.
Madam Cole stated that the construction of the maternal homes in rural communities in the county has been helpful in the execution of their responsibilities as traditional birth attendants.
“In the past we receive constant reports of maternal death across the county,” she said, adding: “The introduction of the maternal home program has helped change the situation positively,”
She said her leadership has intensified awareness across Bong County on the importance of women giving birth at health centers rather than staying home to deliver under risky circumstances.
“We have instructed all traditional midwives not to do a single delivery at home in keeping with the Ministry of Health mandate which we will enforce to the letter,” the traditional midwives’ head emphasized.
The current effort by AFRICARE-Liberia to construct maternal waiting homes, according to Madam Amara, is in support of the national roadmap for accelerating the reduction of maternal mortality in the country.
A 3-year Accelerated Action Plan( AAP) for Maternal Mortality Reduction(MMR) developed by the Ministry of Health and its partners seeks to increase the percentage of deliveries conducted by skilled health professional from 40% to 80%; something that has increased the incidence of Caesarean sections from 2.8% nationally to between 5-15 % in every county.
The roadmap seeks to reduce maternal mortality ratio from 994 deaths/ 100,000 live births to 497; reduce the neonatal mortality ratio from 32 deaths/ 1,000 live births 16 and reduce stillbirth from 27/1,000 live births to 14.
According to the Accelerated Action Plan (AAP), the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health anticipates achieving these goals by 2015 in line with Goal Five of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) seeking significant improvement in maternal health by 2015 globally.
It remains unclear whether Liberia will meet the 2015 benchmark particularly in the health sector with existing challenges that insiders cite to include limited budgetary allocation for health constituting just a little over 6 percent of the national budget, limited number of trained manpower, poor geographic distribution of available skilled personnel and low salaries and benefit for existing personnel.