By Christiana Saywah-Jimmy
Save the Children (SC) with support from DFID, an organization of the United Kingdom aid from the British people have embarked on constructing maternal waiting homes in several rural communities which have placed Liberia among other countries recorded for high percentage of maternal mortality.
This is SC own way of committing to the government of Liberia’s health sector infrastructure agenda which is also in fulfillment with assisting the country meet up to achieving access to reproductive health for mothers and their new born babies ascribe in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) four and five.
MDGs four and five seeks to reduce child mortality by two-third as well as reduce maternal mortality by three quarters; an instrument Liberia has agreed to uphold and achieve its goals by 2015. Save the Children is motivated to support the Every One Campaign which is impacting the lives of several persons in the country.
The organization said it is unfair that mothers should die while giving birth therefore it has earmarked several rural communities for the erection of the maternal waiting homes which consist of nursing stations as well as rooms equipped to prepare pregnant women who are in their nine months and could not have reached a health facility before giving birth due to the distances of their community clinics.
A maternal waiting home is a residential facility built near a health clinic where pregnant women who live far away from health facilities can await their delivery and Save the Children has turned over at least one of such homes containing five rooms in Koon Town, Todee District in rural Montserrado County.
Serving as guest speaker on Tuesday at the dedication ceremony, the Director of Family Health Division at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Cuallau Jebbeh-Howe said because it is agreed that woman dies while giving birth, the homes are strategically located to reduce maternal mortality.
Dr. Jebbeh-Howe encouraged the pregnant mothers to make good use of the facility so that they can give birth in the hands of a safe birth attendant and to improve access to health care for mothers as well as the new born. She said such homes have proven to be a success in other areas.
She said it might be costly to remain in the waiting home for about two weeks before delivery, lack of privacy or the families will be unable to stay with the pregnant women but urged the women to see it as a benefit for them because they can easily get an ambulance to transfer them to a bigger facility in case of emergency.
Dr. Jebbeh-How said if the beneficiaries do not take advantage of the facilities, the government and its partners have failed the purpose therefore she urged midwifes to help in locating such homes for the women instead of encouraging them to give birth at home.
The Health Program Manager of Save the Children, Dr. Olusola Oladeji said the his organization is carrying out other construction work to support the health sector in Liberia which include the extension of the Crozerville and Worhn Clinics in Montserrado and Margibi Counties.
Dr. Oladeji said already Save the Children has dedicated similar facilities in Worhn and Peter’s Town in Margibi County for the use by hundreds of women in villages and towns; and that the dedication of the Koon Town facility as well as the Harrisburg facility which is to be dedicated tomorrow bring to four the number of maternal waiting homes Save the Children has constructed and turned over to residents of Liberia.
With the constructions component under the project titled, “Built for Babies” with funding from private UK citizens, Save the Children is also constructing additional maternal waiting facilities in Tenegar and Louisiana in Rural Montserrado and Margibi Counties; two new clinics in White Plains and Tucker Ta in Careysburg District and Margibi County respectively.
Superintendent Brandy has pledged government’s full support to partner with Save the Children in its work in the country which includes programs in health, education and child protection. Save the Children has been operating in the country since 1991 and it has gone two years in its health project.
The turning over ceremony was witnessed by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare county health team headed by the County Health Officer Dr. Fred Amegashie as well as officials of the county local government led by the superintendent, Florence Brandy and Liberia’s Goodwill Ambassador on Maternal Mortality, Miatta Fahnbulleh.